[ba-ley, bal-ey]
a classical dance form demanding grace and precision and employing formalized steps and gestures set in intricate, flowing patterns to create expression through movement.
a theatrical entertainment in which ballet dancing and music, often with scenery and costumes, combine to tell a story, establish an emotional atmosphere, etc.
an interlude of ballet in an operatic performance.
a company of ballet dancers.
the musical score for a ballet: the brilliant ballets of Tchaikovsky.
a dance or balletlike performance: an ice-skating ballet.

1660–70; < French, Middle French < Italian balletto, equivalent to ball(o) ball2 + -etto -et

balletic [ba-let-ik, buh-] , adjective
balletically, adverb

ballad, ballet, ballot. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ballet (ˈbæleɪ, bæˈleɪ)
1.  a.  a classical style of expressive dancing based on precise conventional steps with gestures and movements of grace and fluidity
 b.  (as modifier): ballet dancer
2.  a theatrical representation of a story or theme performed to music by ballet dancers
3.  a troupe of ballet dancers
4.  a piece of music written for a ballet
[C17: from French, from Italian balletto literally: a little dance, from ballare to dance; see ball²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1660s, from Fr. ballette from It. balletto, dim. of ballo "a dance" (see ball (2)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

ballet definition

Theatrical entertainment in which dancers, usually accompanied by music, tell a story or express a mood through their movements. The technique of ballet is elaborate and requires many years of training. Two classical ballets are Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Two great modern ballets are The Rite of Spring, composed by Igor Stravinsky, and Fancy Free, by Leonard Bernstein.

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