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[kon-truh-dans, -dahns; French kawn-truh-dahns] /ˈkɒn trəˌdæns, -ˌdɑns; French kɔ̃ trəˈdɑ̃s/
noun, plural contredanses
[kon-truh-dan-siz, -dahn-; French kawn-truh dahns] /ˈkɒn trəˌdæn sɪz, -ˌdɑn-; French kɔ̃ˈtrədɑ̃s/ (Show IPA)
a variation of the quadrille in which the dancers face each other.
a piece of music suitable for such a dance.
Also, contradance.
Origin of contredanse
1795-1805; < French, equivalent to contre- counter- + danse dance, misrendering of English country-dance, by association with the characteristic arrangement of dancers in rows facing each other Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contredanse
Historical Examples
  • The French contredanse was borrowed from the English country-dance.

    English Past and Present Richard Chevenix Trench
  • "Amidst more youthful engagements, don't forget you are engaged to me for a contredanse," she said.

    Miles Tremenhere, Vol 2 of 2 Annette Marie Maillard
  • contredanse is the French original, and means that the parties stand opposite to each other.

  • Flocks of old gulls, enormous as hens, fluttered with evolutions like a contredanse upon its glossy surface.

    The Dead Command Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • The contredanse represented was originally the old country dance exported to France and returned with certain arrangements added.

British Dictionary definitions for contredanse


a courtly Continental version of the English country dance, similar to the quadrille
music written for or in the rhythm of this dance
Word Origin
C19: from French, changed from English country dance; country altered to French contre (opposite) by folk etymology (because the dancers face each other)
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
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