[ dans, dahns ]
See synonyms for: dancedanceddancesdancing on

verb (used without object),danced, danc·ing.
  1. to move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.

  2. to leap, skip, etc., as from excitement or emotion; move nimbly or quickly: to dance with joy.

  1. to bob up and down: The toy sailboats danced on the pond.

verb (used with object),danced, danc·ing.
  1. to perform or take part in (a dance): to dance a waltz.

  2. to cause to dance: He danced her around the ballroom.

  1. to cause to be in a specified condition by dancing: She danced her way to stardom.

  1. a successive group of rhythmical steps or bodily motions, or both, usually executed to music.

  2. an act or round of dancing; set: May I have this dance?

  1. the art of dancing: to study dance.

  2. a social gathering or party for dancing; ball: Was he invited to the dance?

  3. a piece of music suited in rhythm or style to a particular form of dancing: He liked the composer's country dances.

  4. Animal Behavior. a stylized pattern of movements performed by an animal, as a bird in courtship display, or an insect, as a honeybee in indicating a source of nectar.

  5. the dance, ballet, interpretive dancing, and other dancing of an artistic nature performed by professional dancers before an audience.

Idioms about dance

  1. dance attendance. attendance (def. 3).

  2. dance on air, Slang. to be hanged.

  1. dance to another tune, to change one's behavior, attitudes, etc.

Origin of dance

First recorded in 1250–1300; (for the verb) Middle English da(u)ncen, from Anglo-French dancer, dauncer, Old French dancier, perhaps from Old High German dansjan, dansōn (unrecorded) “to draw, stretch out, lead to a dance” (see also tense1 ); noun derivative of the verb

Other words for dance

Other words from dance

  • danc·ing·ly, adverb
  • an·ti·danc·ing, adjective
  • outdance, verb (used with object), out·danced, out·danc·ing.
  • un·danc·ing, adjective
  • well-danced, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dance in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dance


/ (dɑːns) /

  1. (intr) to move the feet and body rhythmically, esp in time to music

  2. (tr) to perform (a particular dance)

  1. (intr) to skip or leap, as in joy, etc

  2. to move or cause to move in a light rhythmic way

  3. dance attendance on someone to attend someone solicitously or obsequiously

  1. a series of rhythmic steps and movements, usually in time to music: Related adjective: Terpsichorean

  2. an act of dancing

    • a social meeting arranged for dancing; ball

    • (as modifier): a dance hall

  1. a piece of music in the rhythm of a particular dance form, such as a waltz

  2. dancelike movements made by some insects and birds, esp as part of a behaviour pattern

  3. lead someone a dance British informal to cause someone continued worry and exasperation; play up

Origin of dance

C13: from Old French dancier

Derived forms of dance

  • danceable, adjective
  • dancer, noun
  • dancing, noun, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with dance


In addition to the idioms beginning with dance

  • dance attendance on
  • dance to another tune

also see:

  • lead a chase (dance)
  • song and dance

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.