1. to make a chassé;
2a. walk, glide, go;
b. to strut or move about in an ostentatious or conspicuous manner;
c. to proceed or move in a diagonal or sideways manner.

1. A parade of fashion models sashayed down the catwalk in the designer’s latest creations.
2. “Marching bands, such as the Baltimore City Entertainers, brought cheers from the crowd as dancers clad in white, turquoise and purple sashayed through the street.” — From an article by Julie Scharper in The Baltimore Sun, January 21, 2014.

The French verb “chasser” (“to make a sliding dance step”) danced into English unaltered in the early 19th century, but as the word gained popularity in America people often had difficulty pronouncing and transcribing its French rhythms. By 1836, “sashay” had begun to appear in print in American sources. Authors such as Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, and John Updike have all since put their names on the word’s dance card and have enjoyed the liveliness and attitude “sashay” adds to descriptions of movement. They and many, many others have helped “sashay” slide away from its French dance origins to strut its stuff in descriptions of various walks and moves.


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