[ roun-dl-ey ]
/ ˈraʊn dlˌeɪ /


a song in which a phrase, line, or the like, is continually repeated.
the music for such a song.
a dance in a circle; round dance.

Origin of roundelay

1565–75; alteration (influenced by lay4) of Middle French rondelet, diminutive of rondel roundel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for roundelay

British Dictionary definitions for roundelay


/ (ˈraʊndɪˌleɪ) /


Also called: roundel a slow medieval dance performed in a circle
a song in which a line or phrase is repeated as a refrain

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for roundelay



1570s, from Middle French rondelet, diminutive of rondel "short poem with a refrain," literally "small circle," diminutive of Old French rond "circle, sphere," originally an adjective from roont (see round (adj.)). Spelling developed by association with lay (n.) "poem to be sung."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper