Definition of duende in English:



mass noun
  • 1A quality of passion and inspiration.

    • ‘For those who have experienced duende this is not an honest picture of reality.’
    • ‘She is the production's profound gift, her dancing enhanced by the pleasing curves of her slightly rounded body, and by her face, which suggests simultaneously purity and duende, the mystery and darkness of another dance form, flamenco.’
    • ‘As I interpret duende, it consists of those times when everything works for the dancer and the audience.’
    • ‘Enveloped in duende, the nihilism of Levis's poetry negated beliefs and consolations.’
    • ‘For one who has not read or written much poetry, these two poems possess what Lorca calls duende.’
    • ‘And when you have duende you don't bother with good taste.’
    • ‘We diminish, by calling it atmosphere, a dark quality closer to Lorca's duende.’
    • ‘In addition to its destabilizing qualities, Garcia Lorca associates duende with ever-present danger, death, and renewal.’
    • ‘Although Ballet Hispanico presented a trio of premieres, it was Ramon Oller's Bury Me Standing, first seen in 1998, that epitomized the duende of this spunky little company.’
    • ‘Would you describe your understanding or interpretation of the concept duende?’
    • ‘There was also much discussion of Lorca's concept of duende, that dark intensity or soul at the heart of any true poem.’
    • ‘It is also worth noting that even if the composer or poet is false, the interpreter's duende can create a new marvel bearing little resemblance to the original work.’
    1. 1.1count noun A spirit.
      • ‘A character specific to the Sierra region is the duende, a large-eyed sprite who wears a hat and who preys on children.’
      • ‘The duende can cause disease, but placing gourds of food for them in a doorway will prevent an epidemic.’
      • ‘They were visited at times by duendes.’


1920s: from Spanish, contraction of duen de casa, from dueño de casa ‘owner of the house’.