song and dance

See synonyms for song and dance on
  1. a story or statement, especially an untrue or misleading one designed to evade the matter at hand: Every time he's late, he gives me a song and dance about oversleeping.

Origin of song and dance

An Americanism dating back to 1870–75

Words Nearby song and dance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use song and dance in a sentence

  • She does the song-and-dance business with comedy variations.

  • The cooks in my company, Company L, were song-and-dance artists and contributed most of our entertainment.

    The Road | Jack London
  • She can't cook, but she can do a song-and-dance that's worth its weight in gold when you're down in the mouth.

    The Whole Family | William Dean Howells, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Mary Heaton
  • Then a little individual song-and-dance specialty was introduced.

    What's-His-Name | George Barr McCutcheon
  • And rather than hear that song-and-dance again, I gave myself thirty seconds to think.

    Nor Iron Bars a Cage.... | Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for song and dance

song and dance

  1. British a fuss, esp one that is unnecessary

  2. US and Canadian a long or elaborate story or explanation, esp one that is evasive

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with song and dance

song and dance

An elaborate story or effort to explain and justify something, or to deceive and mislead someone. For example, Do you really believe his song and dance about the alarm not going off, being stopped for speeding, and then the car breaking down? or At every annual meeting the chairman goes through the same song and dance about the company's great future plans. This term originally referred to a vaudeville act featuring song and dance. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.