also foxtrot, 1872, "a slow trot or jog trot, a pace with short steps," such as a fox's, especially of horses, from fox (n.) + trot (n.). As a type of popular dance to ragtime music, from late 1914, a fad in 1915. The early writing on the dance often seems unaware of the equestrian pace of the same name, and instead associated it with the turkey trot one-step dance that was popular a few years before.
As a variation of the one-step, as a legitimate successor to all the objectionable trots, the fox trot has attained a form which is in a fair way to become permanent. ... It has the charm of being an absolute fit for many of the most alluring transient tunes; and it can be danced, without self-consciousness, by hundreds of people who never pretended to be graceful or dancefully talented. [Maurice Mouvet, "Maurice's Art of Dancing," 1915]