I. noun — [ mass noun] 1. an artistic dance form performed to music, using precise and highly formalized set steps and gestures. Classical ballet, which originated in Renaissance Italy and established its present form during the 19th century, is characterized by light, graceful movements and the use of pointe shoes with reinforced toes. 2. [ count noun] — a creative work or performance of ballet, or the music written for it. 3. [treated as sing. or pl.] — a group of dancers who regularly perform ballets • the Bolshoi Ballet.
– origin mid 17th cent.: from French, from Italian balletto, diminutive of ballo ‘a dance’, from late Latin ballare ‘to dance’ (see ball2).