Definitions

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

  • n. A jump in ballet during which the dancer crosses the legs a number of times, alternately back and forth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A manoeuvre whereby the performer jumps up and strikes the heels together a number of times.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A leap in ballet-dancing, during which the performer strikes his heels together several times.

Etymologies

French, earlier entrechas, alteration (influenced by entre, between, and chasse, chase) of Italian (capriola) intrecciata, intricate (caper), feminine past participle of intrecciare, to intertwine : in-, in (from Latin; see in-2) + treccia, tress; see tress.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French entrechat, from Italian (capriola) intrecciata ("interlaced jump"), from in- + treccia ("plait"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Any foreign General at the head of fifty thousand trained, picked troops would risk it, and cut an 'entrechat' for joy of the chance.

    Lord Ormont and His Aminta — Volume 2

  • Robert leaped to his feet and executed a stylish pirouette across the black-and-white crazed rug; Gordon joined him at his halfway mark, and they finished together with an entrechat.

    Naked Cruelty

  • But Sigismund did no further mischief that night, except that, in achieving a superb entrechat, he alighted with his whole weight on the miniature foot of his pretty partner, which he well-nigh crushed to pieces.

    Anne of Geierstein

  • Throwing his body up to a great height for a moment, he leans back, his legs extended, beats an entrechat-sept, and, slowly turning over onto his chest, arches his back and, lowering one leg, holds an arabesque in the air.

    Secrets of Nijinsky

  • The most difficult part of the routine as far as I was concerned was the entrechat, something I had just been taught.

    Butterfly

  • She flung aside her memory of the entrechat and the pirouette, the studied technique of the ballet; but in so doing she unveiled her own soul.

    The Merry-Go-Round

  • But Taglioni's discontent impelled her to spend every spare moment whirling on her big toe, practicing her entrechat, or laboring over the art of smiling, naturally, with aching toes, aching back, aching thighs, and solar plexus almost exhausted from the unnatural strain.

    Editorials from the Hearst Newspapers

  • Dancing must mean something more to him than a whirling and twirling of human beings -- he should at the least know the distinctive styles and figures of different countries, and not confuse an _entrechat_ with a _pirouette_, should be aware of the meaning of the terms _arabesque_ and _rond de jambe_, and understand to some extent the conventional language and history of grand ballet.

    Our Stage and Its Critics By "E.F.S." of "The Westminster Gazette"

  • Mr. Edgeworth excelled me so much, that I sat down upon the ground, and burst out a-crying; he could actually complete an entrechat of ten distinct beats, which I could not accomplish!

    Richard Lovell Edgeworth

  • The 'Twickenham' seems to perform a sort of educated monkey kind of ridiculously decorous pirouette and entrechat before the 'Pryme.'

    Complete Project Gutenberg Works of George Meredith

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