[ roun-dl-ey ]

  1. a song in which a phrase, line, or the like, is continually repeated.

  2. the music for such a song.

  1. a dance in a circle; round dance.

Origin of roundelay

1565–75; alteration (influenced by lay4) of Middle French rondelet, diminutive of rondelroundel

Words Nearby roundelay Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use roundelay in a sentence

  • Nellie Thomas' bird-like tones thrilled their roundelay of worship with the silvery clearness of the skylark.

    Southern Hearts | Florence Hull Winterburn
  • And by night about the crackling camp fire our happy voices, all united, are uplifted in song and roundelay.

    Fibble, D. D. | Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
  • During the day it gets on a neighboring brush or tree and sings its roundelay of song for hours at a time.

  • Why sing a roundelay that means no more than Choctaw to a Turk?

  • Voices rippled from chantey to roundelay and back to chantey again.

    Strange Stories of the Great Valley | Abbie Johnston Grosvenor

British Dictionary definitions for roundelay


/ (ˈraʊndɪˌleɪ) /

  1. Also called: roundel a slow medieval dance performed in a circle

  2. a song in which a line or phrase is repeated as a refrain

Origin of roundelay

C16: from Old French rondelet a little rondel, from rondel; also influenced by lay 4

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