1560s, "a leisurely walk, a walk for pleasure or display," from French promenade "a walking, a public walk" (16c.), from se promener "go for a walk," from Late Latin prominare "to drive (animals) onward," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + minare "to drive (animals) with shouts," from minari "to threaten" (see menace (n.)).
Meaning "place for walking" is from 1640s; specifically "walkway by the sea" (from late 18c.); British sense of "music hall favored by 'loose women and the simpletons who run after them' " [The Observer, Jan. 18, 1863, in reference to the Alhambra in Leicester Square] is attested from 1863. Sense of "a dance given by or at a school" is from 1887.