Definition of galliard in US English:



  • A lively dance in triple time for two people, including complicated turns and steps.

    • ‘Other dances, such as the various types of branles, were a direct transference of folk sources, whilst others, again, compromised between populist zest and courtly fastidiousness, as did the pavanes and galliards.’
    • ‘In other words, where a five step galliard generally consists of four steps, followed by a cadenza, an eleven step generally consists of ten steps, followed by a cadenza.’
    • ‘This exotic combination is followed by a complete contrast of sound in the succeeding galliard, or Gailliarde as it is spelt in the score.’
    • ‘The term ballo occurs in this context mainly in the 16th century, when it denoted a collection of dances of the period, such as branles, pavans and galliards, and saltarellos.’
    • ‘I wish I was as disciplined as she was - this is a woman who got up and did 100 galliards a day until the day she died, and they are hard dance steps!’


Late Middle English (as an adjective meaning ‘valiant, sturdy’ and ‘lively, brisk’): from Old French gaillard ‘valiant’, of Celtic origin. The current sense dates from the mid 16th century.