noun, plural tan·gos.

a ballroom dance of Latin-American origin, danced by couples, and having many varied steps, figures, and poses.
music for this dance.
a word used in communications to represent the letter T.

verb (used without object), tan·goed, tan·go·ing.

to dance the tango.

Origin of tango

1910–15; < American Spanish < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tango

Contemporary Examples of tango

Historical Examples of tango

  • It isn't a Bunny Hug or Tango, or anything distracting for lookers-on.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • I was saying that Prue is too fine a girl to be allowed to mingle with that tango set.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • The following Sunday three of the Carthage preachers attacked the tango.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • The tango was upon the world like a Mississippi at flood-time.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • In the towns smaller than Carthage the anxiety for the tango fermented.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for tango


noun plural -gos

a Latin American dance in duple time, characterized by long gliding steps and sudden pauses
a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance

verb -goes, -going or -goed

(intr) to perform this dance
Derived Formstangoist, noun

Word Origin for tango

C20: from American Spanish, probably of Niger-Congo origin; compare Ibibio tamgu to dance



communications a code word for the letter t
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 tango

syncopated ballroom dance, 1913, from Argentine Spanish tango, originally the name of an African-American drum dance, probably from a Niger-Congo language (cf. Ibibio tamgu "to dance"). Phrase it takes two to tango was a song title from 1952.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tango in Culture


A sensual ballroom dance that originated in South America in the early twentieth century.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.