from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A slow Cuban dance in duple time.
  • noun The music for this dance.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A slow Spanish dance in triple rhythm; also, the music for such a dance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A style of music from Cuba.
  • noun A dance performed to this music.

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

  • noun music composed in duple time for dancing the habanera
  • noun a Cuban dance in duple time


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

[Spanish (danza) habanera, (dance) of Havana, feminine of habanero; see habanero.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License



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  • From a novel set (mostly) in Buenos Aires in 1913-1920:, this is a flashback to, probably late 19th century:

    in Buenos Aires . . . music rapped and hummed on every corner . . . payadas, sung by pairs of country men who knew the life of gauchos and horses and lassos and dirt, who battled each other through song, . . .; habaneras, sparked by sailors freshly arrived from Cuba . . .; milongas, those fast joyful songs that could fill a filthy alley with dancers more quickly than honey could draw flies; and candombe, the music of black people whose ancestors had come in ships from Africa, shackled, enslaved, and who now lived among the immigrants, . . . with the most incredible music, . . . music played on drums built with cast-off barrels, whose rhythms interlocked to form a tight vast sound. There was no melody. In Europe it would have been called noise. But candombe had a potency that hit him in his belly, and in depths he hadn't known about.
    Carolina de Robertis, The Gods of Tango (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), pp. 115-16

    September 4, 2016