- a ritual dance intended to establish communion with the dead, especially such a dance as performed by various messianic western American Indian cults in the late 19th century.
Origin of ghost dance
An Americanism dating back to 1885–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for ghost dance
When night came on the form in white had disappeared—and, returning, the old chief taught the ghost-dance to his people.Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete
Charles M. Skinner
The third day of the ghost-dance at Cliff Crest was to be the day of the big event—as the office parlance had it.In Our Town
William Allen White
No wonder the redskins call that wild pageantry of color the ghost-dance of their gods.The Prairie Child
The only really serious disturbance within a generation was the "Ghost-dance war" of 1890-91.The Indian Today
Charles A. Eastman
Within the last two years, however, they have revived the ghost-dance ceremonies with all the old-time vigor (see the calendar).
- a religious dance of certain North American Indians, connected with a political movement (from about 1888) that looked to reunion with the dead and a return to an idealized state of affairs before Europeans came