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cotillion

[kuh-til-yuh n, koh-] /kəˈtɪl yən, koʊ-/
noun
1.
a formal ball given especially for debutantes.
2.
a lively French social dance originating in the 18th century, consisting of a variety of steps and figures and performed by couples.
3.
any of various dances resembling the quadrille.
4.
music arranged or played for these dances.
5.
a formalized dance for a large number of people, in which a head couple leads the other dancers through elaborate and stately figures.
Origin
1760-1770
1760-70; < French cotillon kind of dance, in Old French: petticoat, equivalent to cote coat + -illon diminutive suffix
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cotillion
  • The cotillion was danced in the ordinary which was hung with southern smilax.
British Dictionary definitions for cotillion

cotillion

/kəˈtɪljən; kəʊ-/
noun
1.
a French formation dance of the 18th century
2.
(US) a quadrille
3.
(US) a complicated dance with frequent changes of partners
4.
(US & Canadian) a formal ball, esp one at which debutantes are presented
Word Origin
C18: from French cotillon dance, from Old French: petticoat, from cotecoat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for cotillion
n.

type of dance, 1766, from French cotillion (15c.), originally "petticoat," a double diminutive of Old French cote "skirt" (see coat (n.)); its application to a kind of dance arose in France and is considered obscure by some linguists, but there are lively turns in the dance that flash the petticoats.

Meaning "formal ball" is 1898, American English, short for cotillion ball. French uses -on (from Latin -onem) to reinforce Latin nouns felt to need more emphatic power (e.g. poisson from Latin piscis). It also uses -on to form diminutives, often strengthened by the insertion of -ill-, as in the case of this word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for cotillion

late 18th-century and 19th-century French court dance, popular also in England. A precursor of the quadrille, the cotillion was danced by four couples standing in a square set. The first and third, then the second and fourth, couples executed various series of geometric figures.

Learn more about cotillion with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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11
15
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