See more synonyms for pirouette on Thesaurus.com
  1. a whirling about on one foot or on the points of the toes, as in ballet dancing.
  2. Dressage. a complete turn in which the horse uses its hind legs as a pivot.
verb (used without object), pir·ou·et·ted, pir·ou·et·ting.
  1. to perform a pirouette; whirl, as on the toes.

Origin of pirouette

1700–10; < French: a whirl, top, feminine of Middle French pirouet, equivalent to pirou- (cognate with Italian pirolo, diminutive of piro peg) + -et -et
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pirouetting

Historical Examples of pirouetting

  • "No more did I," said Elsie, trying in vain to get away from her pirouetting husband.

    In the High Valley

    Susan Coolidge

  • Saturnine faces were wreathed in smiles worthy of a pirouetting dancer.

    The Magic Skin

    Honore de Balzac

  • “And set him pirouetting, Sire,” sardonically suggested James.

    Mistress Nell

    George C. Hazelton, Jr.

  • "Doesn't it look nice," she cried, pirouetting before the glass.

    Anxious Audrey

    Mabel Quiller-Couch

  • Irene stood still suddenly in the middle of her pirouetting.

    Anxious Audrey

    Mabel Quiller-Couch

British Dictionary definitions for pirouetting


  1. a body spin, esp in dancing, on the toes or the ball of the foot
  1. (intr) to perform a pirouette

Word Origin for pirouette

C18: from French, from Old French pirouet spinning top; related to Italian pirolo little peg
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 pirouetting



1706, from French pirouette "spinning top; pirouette in dancing," from Middle French pirouet "spinning top" (15c.), from Gallo-Romance root *pir- "peg, plug" (cf. Italian piruolo "peg top") + diminutive suffix -ette.



1822, from pirouette (n.) and also from French pirouetter. Related: Pirouetted; pirouetting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper