Definition of morris dance in US English:

morris dance

noun

  • A lively traditional English dance performed outdoors by groups known as “sides.” Dancers wear distinctive costumes that are mainly black and white and have small bells attached, and often carry handkerchiefs or sticks.

    • ‘Sharp went on to devote most of the rest of his life to compiling morris dances and tunes.’
    • ‘One specific kind of jig in which the Robin Hood tradition, a popular subject of ballads, prevailed was the morris dance.’
    • ‘The Morris Dance is one of the oldest continuing traditions of rural Britain, and in its origins, was thought to welcome the spring and to ensure the fertility of the year's crops.’
    • ‘There was a serene feel to the festival on Sunday when 300 people gathered in the morning for a multi-faith service of songs of praise followed by a morris dance display.’
    • ‘George and the Dragon was played all over the country by bands of mummers, who would blacken their faces with soot and wear animal masks and ragged costumes - some morris dance groups echo these once-pagan traditions today.’

Phrases

  • morris dancing

      • ‘There was maypole dancing and morris dancing provided by the Jockey Mens Morris Team.’
      • ‘Other events include a five-mile run, tug o'war, display of falconry, morris dancing, pipe bands, circus entertainers and displays of martial arts.’
      • ‘There will be live music, including folk, jazz and blues, as well as morris dancing.’
      • ‘Other celebratory events on Tuesday included maypole dancing, poetry readings, a magic show and a display of morris dancing.’
      • ‘According to John the popularity of morris dancing has ebbed and flowed through the years and was on the verge of extinction until the timely intervention of one Cecil Sharp on Boxing Day 1899.’

Origin

Late Middle English: morris from morys, variant of Moorish (see Moor); the association with the Moors remains unexplained.

Pronunciation

morris dance

/ˈmɔrəs ˌdæns/