minuet (n.)

"slow, graceful dance in triple measure," 1670s, from French menuet, from Old French menuet (adj.) "small, fine, delicate, narrow," from menu "small," from Latin minutus "small, minute" (from PIE root *mei- (2) "small"). So called from the short steps taken in the dance. The spelling was influenced in English by Italian minuetto. As "music for a minuet," by 1680s. Perhaps invented in mid-17c. France, the minuet was, through the 18c., the most popular of the more stately dances.

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