[hah-buh-nair-uh or, often, -nyair-uh]


a dance of Cuban origin.
the music for this dance, having a slow duple meter and a rhythm similar to that of a tango.

Origin of habanera

1875–80; < Spanish (danza) habanera (dance) of Havana
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for habanera

Historical Examples of habanera

  • He was wakeful and that wretched Habanera kept throbbing in his head.

    Five Tales

    John Galsworthy

  • Alvarado dances the Habanera with the dancing-girl Chiquita.

  • The Habanera went very well by being transposed half a tone higher; but the card-playing scene was another matter.

  • The lady sang with great spirit, and her rendering of la Paloma and of the Habanera from Carmen was simply perfect.

  • The Tango is in 2-4, played in moderately slow tempo; its rhythm is also adapted for the Habanera.

British Dictionary definitions for habanera



a slow Cuban dance in duple time
a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance

Word Origin for habanera

from Spanish danza habanera dance from Havana
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

Word Origin and History for habanera



type of Cuban dance, 1878, literally "of Havana;" see Havana.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper