Definition of duende in English:



mass noun
  • 1A quality of passion and inspiration.

    • ‘In addition to its destabilizing qualities, Garcia Lorca associates duende with ever-present danger, death, and renewal.’
    • ‘We diminish, by calling it atmosphere, a dark quality closer to Lorca's duende.’
    • ‘For those who have experienced duende this is not an honest picture of reality.’
    • ‘It is also worth noting that even if the composer or poet is false, the interpreter's duende can create a new marvel bearing little resemblance to the original work.’
    • ‘She is the production's profound gift, her dancing enhanced by the pleasing curves of her slightly rounded body, and by her face, which suggests simultaneously purity and duende, the mystery and darkness of another dance form, flamenco.’
    • ‘Enveloped in duende, the nihilism of Levis's poetry negated beliefs and consolations.’
    • ‘And when you have duende you don't bother with good taste.’
    • ‘For one who has not read or written much poetry, these two poems possess what Lorca calls duende.’
    • ‘There was also much discussion of Lorca's concept of duende, that dark intensity or soul at the heart of any true poem.’
    • ‘As I interpret duende, it consists of those times when everything works for the dancer and the audience.’
    • ‘Would you describe your understanding or interpretation of the concept duende?’
    • ‘Although Ballet Hispanico presented a trio of premieres, it was Ramon Oller's Bury Me Standing, first seen in 1998, that epitomized the duende of this spunky little company.’
    1. 1.1count noun A spirit.
      • ‘They were visited at times by duendes.’
      • ‘The duende can cause disease, but placing gourds of food for them in a doorway will prevent an epidemic.’
      • ‘A character specific to the Sierra region is the duende, a large-eyed sprite who wears a hat and who preys on children.’


1920s from Spanish, contraction of duen de casa, from dueño de casa ‘owner of the house’.