Definition of gavotte in US English:



  • 1A medium-paced French dance, popular in the 18th century.

    • ‘Meanwhile, away from the pain and hurt of individuals, the medical debate continues its stately gavotte - and its occasional less than stately spat - in the journals and conferences.’
    • ‘Before the mid-17th century a gavotte usually followed a series of branles, a dance to which it was closely related, and was performed in a line or circle.’
    • ‘A group of dancers in period costumes will recreate baroque dances including a minuet and a gavotte.’
    • ‘Despite the fact that her head was beginning to pound horridly, she determinedly held her head high and slowly danced the gavotte perfectly without letting the book fall.’
    • ‘Kent is oblivious to the fact that he couldn't possibly fit into this rarefied social environment, where the Social Dance is as complex as a gavotte.’
    1. 1.1 A piece of music accompanying or in the rhythm of a gavotte, composed in common time beginning on the third beat of the bar.
      • ‘A seagull struggled to cry over the gavotte that the school's ancient pipes were playing near me.’
      • ‘Composers who wrote instrumental gavottes include François Couperin, Rameau, Purcell, Pachelbel, and J. C. F. Fischer.’
      • ‘That is, the gavotte switches to a vivace, which dissolves into a brief, though affecting, adagio.’
      • ‘He had recently orchestrated a gavotte with variations by Rameau, and had completed his Second Symphony, begun over five years before, but left unfinished until now.’
      • ‘The Scherzo is not in triple time and indeed sounds more like the gavotte in Prokofiev's Classical Symphony, years before the fact.’


French, from Provençal gavoto ‘dance of the mountain people’, from Gavot ‘native of the Alps’.