belly dance

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A loan translation of French danse du ventre. First attested in English in the 1890s.

OED has as earliest attestation an explicit gloss of 1899, "The danse du ventre (literally, "belly-dance") is of Turkish origin" (in Bohemian Paris of to-day), but there are slightly earlier occurrences, in In the land of the lion and sun; or, Modern Persia (1891) of Persian dance; in Frank Leslie's popular monthly (vol. 36, 1893) "These women dance, not with their feet and arms but with their stomach. Hence their abdominal contortions are styled the 'belly dance.'"[1]; and in Untrodden fields of anthropology (1898)[2] in reference to African (Wolof and Landoma (Baga)) dance.

Noun[edit]

belly dance (plural belly dances)

  1. A traditional form of dance from the Middle East, characterized by movements of the abdominal muscles.

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