Definition of hornpipe in US English:



  • 1A lively dance associated with sailors, typically performed by one person.

    • ‘They competed in sections including light jigs, heavy jigs, hornpipes and Céilí dancing.’
    • ‘In my next scene, I have to dance the hornpipe towards Basil, leading a line of children some of whom are, embarrassingly, as tall as me.’
    • ‘Someone played the piano and I danced in my new green dance costume and hornpipe shoes.’
    • ‘The Sea Cadets followed the New Trafalgar Dispatch throughout its journey, providing bands, honour guards, hornpipe dancers and club and cutlass swinging at numerous locations along the way.’
    • ‘There were no dances exclusively for the lower school either - no hornpipe or Scottish country dances.’
    • ‘Small, tricky, balletic jumps and a quick circle of turns follow little hornpipe steps or a doglike shake of the body, and Boal makes the speed and detail look easy.’
    • ‘The traditional association of the hornpipe with British seamen seems to have begun in the late 18th century.’
    • ‘The names of the sets and steps are taken from such familiar forms as the hornpipe or the soft shoe or even tap dance.’
    • ‘Suzanne and her sister Ann-Marie danced jogs, reels and hornpipes, to the delight of everyone present.’
    • ‘But it does have a charming hornpipe danced by Charlie and a funny bit at the end.’
    • ‘Also on hand to entertain were young Irish dancers who performed reels, jigs and hornpipes.’
    • ‘I clattered and tapped endlessly in my hornpipe shoes on the red-tile floor in the kitchen, and anywhere there was a wood or flag floor.’
    • ‘She came first in the hornpipe and now qualifies to compete in the world dancing championships to be held in Ennis, County Clare at Easter.’
    • ‘For example, the hornpipe must be danced between 112 and 116 [beats per minute].’
    • ‘Austin and James Gibbons were light on their feet as they danced the hornpipe to the joy of all present.’
    • ‘Sylvia O'Donovans display of Irish dancing was a big hit as were the reels and hornpipes of cousins Deirdre Bonham and Gillian Reilly from the Mary Gohery school of dancing.’
    • ‘Competitors danced the Highland fling, the sword dance, the sean triubhais, the Highland reel, the sailors' hornpipe, the Irish Jig and other dances, preferably to the music of the bagpipe.’
    • ‘He literally snatched the pouch out of Ziada's hands and, seemingly of their own accord, his feet did a small hornpipe.’
    • ‘Gaelscoil dancers also performed hornpipes, sets, and even a hip-hop routine.’
    • ‘In the solo competitions Louise got first place for her hornpipe and second place for her reel and overall, out of forty eight competitors from all over Ireland, England and the North of Ireland, she was placed sixth.’
    1. 1.1 A piece of music for a hornpipe.
      ‘the final movement is a breezy and witty hornpipe’
      • ‘His playing of reels, jigs and hornpipes is immaculate.’
      • ‘From early morning until late afternoon the lounge vibrated to the sound of lively jigs, reels, polkas and hornpipes played with tremendous enthusiasm by the participants.’
      • ‘He composed many reels and hornpipes so Paddy Mills music will always be alive.’
      • ‘Graffiti perform a wide variety of music from the ‘Can-Can’ to Hungarian Folk Dances to hornpipes and polkas, with a little Mozart, Bach and Strauss added for good measure.’
      • ‘Strathspeys, jigs, reels and hornpipes from various sources are all fed through Greenberg and McGuinness's loving, yet idiosyncratic arrangements.’
      • ‘The variety of instruments alone is a testimony to the healthy state of traditional music in the area and tunes types include double jigs, reels, polkas, airs, barn dances, slip jigs and hornpipes.’
      • ‘One day when his brother was labouring through a hornpipe Noel gave himself away by taking the concertina and playing the tune with ease.’
      • ‘Fintan's fingers flew over the hornpipes and slowed for the sound of ‘The Dear Irish Boy a slow air and an old set dance called ‘Blackbird’.’
      • ‘David gave a first class performance in slow airs, jigs and hornpipes.’
      • ‘In addition, there are stalwart slides, reels and hornpipes all played with enthusiasm and character.’
      • ‘At the Carraig Hotel this Saturday the audience are in for rousing reels, driving jibs, funky hornpipes, groovy slow reels and songs.’
      • ‘Johnny O'Leary's reels, jigs and hornpipes are generally part of the broader national store of music, but his polkas, slides and barndances are quite unusual and little known.’
      • ‘This CD blends an equal amount of exciting reels, jigs and hornpipes, along with a selection of old and new songs performed by the lyrical and commanding voice of Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, who is joined on one of the tracks by the great Liam Clancy.’
      • ‘It is the instrument that best tells the story of our collective loss and longing in slow airs like the Coolin and also our perky sense of survival in clipping jigs reels and hornpipes - like the Mason's Apron.’
      • ‘There's also a great selection of jigs, reels, and hornpipes on the CD.’
      • ‘The band has put together a lively selection of 52 jigs, reels and hornpipes, many of which were played by the original band.’
      • ‘There are few traditional musicians in County Sligo and beyond who haven't hammered out some rasping reels or clipping hornpipes on musky summer evenings.’
      • ‘Reels and jigs, marches and waltzes, strathspeys, airs and hornpipes flow once the guests are lubricated with a drop of the hard stuff.’
      • ‘In the final section, shot through with Scottish folk and fiddle music, Joaquin de Luz and Daniel Ulbricht lead a thrilling take on the hornpipe.’
      • ‘The 17-track album features jigs, reels, songs, waltzes, hornpipes, polkas, a two step, slow air, highland fling and recitation.’


Late Middle English (denoting a wind instrument made of horn, played to accompany dancing): from horn + pipe.