Going to the ball
This evening I’ll be going to the office Christmas party. This year it’s called “the Ice Ball”, which got me thinking about the names of such events.
A ball, as in a formal party involving dancing, comes from the Greek, ballizein, to dance, jump about, via the Latin ballare, to dance, and the Old French baller, to dance. The words ballet and ballad share the same root, as does bailar (to dance) in Spanish and Portuguese.
The word dance comes from the Old French dancier, which possibly came from Frankish.
Other dance names include:
waltz, from the German walzen, to roll, dance
polka, from the Czech polka, Polish woman, or from pulka, half, for the half-steps of Bohemian peasant dances
tango, from Argentine Spanish tango, which was originally the name of an African-American drum dance, and possibly came from a Niger-Congo language.
jig, from the Middle French giguer, to dance; or from the German Geige, violin, meaning a piece of sport or trick.