Definition of danse macabre in English:

danse macabre


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.’


danse macabre

/ˌdäns məˈkäbrə/ /ˌdɑns məˈkɑbrə/


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