Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A classical dance form characterized by grace and precision of movement and by elaborate formal gestures, steps, and poses.
  • n. A theatrical presentation of group or solo dancing to a musical accompaniment, usually with costume and scenic effects, conveying a story or theme.
  • n. A musical composition written or used for this dance form.
  • n. A company or group that performs ballet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A classical form of dance.
  • n. A theatrical presentation of such dancing, usually with music, sometimes in the form of a story.
  • n. The company of persons who perform this dance.
  • n. A light part song, or madrigal, with a fa-la burden or chorus, most common with the Elizabethan madrigal composers.
  • n. A bearing in coats of arms representing one or more balls, called bezants, plates, etc., according to colour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An artistic dance performed as a theatrical entertainment, or an interlude, by a number of persons, usually women. Sometimes, a scene accompanied by pantomime and dancing.
  • n. The company of persons who perform the ballet.
  • n. A light part song, or madrigal, with a fa la burden or chorus, -- most common with the Elizabethan madrigal composers; -- also spelled ballett.
  • n. A bearing in coats of arms, representing one or more balls, which are denominated bezants, plates, etc., according to color.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To express by dancing or in a ballet.
  • An obsolete form of ballad.
  • n. A little ball: in heraldry, a bearing in coats of arms, denominated, according to the color, bezants, plates, hurts, etc.
  • n. A spectacular dance, more or less elaborate in steps, poses, and costumes, in which a number of performers, chiefly females, take part.
  • n. A complete pantomime or theatrical representation, in which a story is told, and actions, characters, and passions are represented, by gestures and grouping, accompanied by characteristic or illustrative music, dancing, and often rich scenery and decorations.
  • n. The corps of dancers who perform ballets.
  • n. The music to which a ballet is danced.
  • n. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in England, a light glee-like madrigal or part-song, often with a fa-la burden. See fa-la.
  • n. In the eighteenth century, a series of instrumental dances properly in the same key and usually for stringed instruments; a suite (which see).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. music written for a ballet
  • n. a theatrical representation of a story that is performed to music by trained dancers

Etymologies

French, from Italian balletto, diminutive of ballo, dance, from ballare, to dance; see ballerina.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French ballet, from Italian balletto ("short dance, ballet"), diminutive form of ballo ("ball"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • 'bally' is a British pronunciation of extreme quaintness

    December 28, 2009