Definition of pavane in US English:


(also pavan)


  • 1A stately dance in slow duple time, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and performed in elaborate clothing.

    • ‘We led the company in a pavane and I smiled at the King only when he looked over at me.’
    • ‘He described the pavan as a processional dance in duple time, with two single steps and one double step forwards, followed by the same sequence in reverse.’
    • ‘We danced a pavan, but it never worked with three either.’
    • ‘Children also took part in period dances including the lively farandole from Provence and the slower pavan, both dating back to the time of Tudor kings and queens.’
    • ‘Similar comments apply to the pavane, the galliarde and the volta from the Elizabethan period.’
    1. 1.1 A piece of music for a pavane.
      ‘the repertory consists mainly of pavanes and galliards’
      • ‘He produced many fine sets of variations on popular melodies and ground basses as well as stylized dance music (especially pavans and galliards).’
      • ‘He too composed a pavan and galliard for the Earl.’
      • ‘The range of Orlando Gibbons can be savoured first in another expressive and touching pavan.’


Mid 16th century: from French pavane, from Italian pavana, feminine adjective from Pavo, dialect name of Padua.