morris dance

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morris dance a lively traditional English dance performed out of doors by groups known as ‘sides’. Dancers wear a distinctive costume that is mainly black and white and has small bells attached, and often carry handkerchiefs or sticks. At least one of the dancers is likely to represent a symbolic or legendary figure, as the fool, hobby horse, or Maid Marian.

The phrase is recorded from late Middle English; morris comes from a variant of Moorish, but the association with the Moors remains unexplained.