Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Sashay


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is sashay. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

To sashay is to proudly walk in a slow, confident way that is meant to attract attention. Sashay can also mean simply “to walk, glide, or go,” or “to proceed or move in a diagonal or sideways manner.” In contexts involving dance, sashay means “to make a chassé,” which is a dance step in which a slide on one foot is followed closely by a slide on the other foot.

// The model sashayed down the runway wearing red from head to toe.

SASHAY in Context

“I was surrounded by warm wood paneling, soft lighting, piano music playing at the exact right volume, white tablecloths, and servers who didn’t walk so much as they sashayed from the kitchen to the dining room and back again. This was one of the most confident restaurants I’d ever entered, and the next hour of my life would prove why.” — Drew Magary,, 18 Mar. 2023

Did You Know?

Sashay slid into English as an alteration of the French borrowing chassé, which refers to a dance step in which a slide on one foot is followed closely by a slide on the other foot. (It comes from the French verb chasser, meaning “to chase.”) Authors such as Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, and John Updike have all put their names on the word’s proverbial dance card, enjoying the liveliness sashay adds to prose. More recently, it has been strutting its stuff as a refrain on RuPaul’s Drag Race since 2009: a queen does not skulk when voted out of the race, but proudly sashays offstage. From classic literature to the runway, sashay continues to dance its way through English with attitude. Now, sashay away.

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