Definition of pirouette in US English:



  • 1An act of spinning on one foot, typically with the raised foot touching the knee of the supporting leg.

    • ‘Laurie, in her ecstatic state, executed a pirouette, and began to sing in earnest.’
    • ‘She then did a second, slower pirouette as if to emphasize her attire.’
    • ‘For example, she would give everyone triple pirouettes when I could only do one.’
    • ‘In classical ballet pirouettes are executed on pointe, as are arabesques.’
    • ‘By the end of that week, I could consistently execute quadruple pirouettes to both right and left.’
    spin, twirl, whirl, turn, gyration, revolution
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    1. 1.1 A movement performed in advanced dressage and classical riding, in which the horse makes a circle by pivoting on a hind leg, while cantering.
      • ‘They got a bit bogged down near the end of the performance during a final pirouette in piaffe, but overall featured a strong technique.’
      • ‘The mare seemed to some a bit undone in the final canter work, fighting Paxton in one of the half pirouettes, and missing her three-time changes.’
      • ‘The horse needs sufficient impulsion for the work that is being asked of him, i.e. cantering a 20 metre circle requires much less impulsion than performing a canter pirouette.’
      • ‘The trainer, unfazed by Dansk's apparent aggression, manages to persuade the animal to kneel, walks on its backside and performs pirouettes.’
      • ‘The music highlighted excellent canter work, including multiple pirouettes, and tempi changes on a curve.’


[no object]
  • Perform a pirouette.

    ‘she pirouetted and made a bow’
    • ‘The tenor saxophonist wore his baseball hat backwards as he pirouetted and moonwalked across the front of the stage.’
    • ‘Laughing like a child, Noel made the boxers dance, pirouetting lightly across the carpet.’
    • ‘She pirouetted gracefully, and laughed back at him.’
    • ‘The swords sang as the soldier and I danced; pirouetting, blocking, lunging, advancing, and retreating.’
    • ‘She twirled and pirouetted with her arms outstretched to catch the gliding snowflakes.’
    spin round, twirl, whirl, turn round, gyrate, revolve, pivot
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Mid 17th century: from French, literally ‘spinning top’, of unknown ultimate origin.