Meaning of danse macabre in English:

danse macabre

Pronunciation /ˌdɑːns məˈkɑːbr(ə)/


another term for dance of death
‘Europe had suffered through a century of the Black Death, and woodcuts depict images of the danse macabre, in which the skeleton is seen cavorting indiscriminately with paupers, kings, and clergy.’
  • ‘The danse macabre, an artistic form portraying a personified Death, is commonly portrayed as a skeleton entering an everyday situation ‘in the midst of life’.’
  • ‘The Danse Macabre made its first appearance during the plague (Black Death) years of the fourteenth century. In Germany it was the Todtentanz; in Italy, danza della morte; and in England, the Dance of Death.’
  • ‘The Danse Macabre, also known as the Totentanz, or Dance of Death, has a lengthy history stretching back to the Middle Ages and beyond.’
  • ‘Although the origins of the danse macabre, or Dance of Death, are still obscure, probably the most famous version was the (now lost) mural of 1424-25 with accompanying verses in the churchyard of the Franciscan convent Aux SS. Innocents in Paris.’


French, recorded from late Middle English in anglicized forms such as dance of Machabray, dance of Macaber (see also macabre).