Origin of waltz

1775–85; back formation from German Walzer a waltz (taken as walz + -er1), derivative of walzen to roll, dance; compare obsolete English walt unsteady, dial. walter to roll
Related formswaltz·er, nounwaltz·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for waltz

march, music, whirl

Examples from the Web for waltz

Contemporary Examples of waltz

Historical Examples of waltz

  • She knew how to waltz and she could dance the polka and the schottishe.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • He was wondering why the interest in the Gaelic language was not so strong as the interest in the waltz.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The trees of the forest seemed to waltz around me in mazy circles.

  • Jack De Baron would be there, and would want to know why she would not waltz.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • You don't mean to say she ought to waltz, or dance stage dances?

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for waltz



a ballroom dance in triple time in which couples spin around as they progress round the room
a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance


to dance or lead (someone) in or as in a waltzhe waltzed her off her feet
(intr) to move in a sprightly and self-assured manner
(intr) informal to succeed easily
Derived Formswaltzlike, adjective

Word Origin for waltz

C18: from German Walzer, from Middle High German walzen to roll; compare welter
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 waltz

dance performed to music in triple time, 1781, from German Waltzer, from walzen "to roll, dance," from Old High German walzan "to turn, roll," from Proto-Germanic *walt- (cf. Old Norse velta), from PIE root *wel- "to turn, revolve" (see volvox). Described in 1825 as "a riotous and indecent German dance."


1794, from waltz (n.). Meaning "to move nimbly" is recorded from 1862. Related: Waltzed; waltzing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper