Meaning of roundelay in English:


Pronunciation /ˈraʊndɪleɪ/


  • 1 literary A short, simple song with a refrain.

    ‘I've passed girls singing choral roundelays on Holyrood Road.’
    • ‘They sat next to each other, face-to face, in the background, a roundelay of harp music playing softly.’
    • ‘Metz's new arrangement focuses on ensembles supporting the soloists, and a concluding sixteen-bar roundelay with piano exchanges between clarinet, saxophone, trombone, and drums.’
    • ‘Perhaps my enjoyment of these most recent deathbed roundelays has been offset a bit by listening recently to some of his earlier work that follows his sobriety but precedes his mortality.’
    1. 1.1A circle dance.
      ‘Many felt the director did just that with this film, a clever but routine roundelay of British aristocracy and murder.’
      • ‘The film is a roundelay of unfulfilled desires: Frances is a beautiful woman, now dying, who wants to heal the emotional damage she's left in her wake.’
      • ‘There is a comic roundelay that makes sense on its face, but if you think about it for a second, you realize how forced and unreal it is.’
      • ‘The only real connective tissue is the nonsense refrain of the title, which seems to slur through a dozen pair of wet, loose lips during this roundelay of partying.’
      • ‘Art historians have their own part to play in this roundelay.’
      • ‘There ensues a roundelay of sex and jealousy and demands on Guido, interspersed with memories of his dead mother and the 9-year-old Guido's discovery of erotics.’
      • ‘The conflict between the reproductive roundelays exists as a perceived never-ending engagement between emotion and detachment, machismo and tenderness.’


Late Middle English from Old French rondelet, from rondel (see rondel). The change in the ending was due to association with the final syllable of virelay.