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.

More information about the etymology of the names of dances

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This entry was posted in English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases.

One Response to Going to the ball

  1. renato figueiredo says:

    Talking specifically about kinds of dances. In Brazil we have the famous samba, which came from Angola originaly with the name of semba;
    During World War II, American had an army base in Northeast Brazil, when they wanted to dance, they created a ball, and the Americans said that the ball “its for all” (all comunity people could go and dance) as people didn1t know how to speak English they repeated “forró”, and Brazil created a new kind of dance The forró well appreciated in North and Northeast region of the country.