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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Nautch \Nautch\, n. [Hind. n[=a]ch, fr. Skr. n[.r]tya dance.] An entertainment consisting chiefly of dancing by professional dancing (or Nautch) girls. [India]

Syn: nauch.


n. A dance in South Asia, performed by professional dancing girls.


n. an intricate traditional dance in India performed by professional dancing girls [syn: nauch, nautch dance]


In North India, Nautch is one of several styles of popular dance, performed by girls known as Nautch girls. The word Nautch is an anglicized version of नाच (nāc), a word found in Hindi and Urdu (where it is spelled ناچ), and several other languages of North India, derived from the Sanskrit, Nritya, via the Prakrit, Nachcha. A simple and literal translation of Nautch is "dance" or "dancing".

The culture of the performing art of Nautch rose to prominence during the later period of Mughal Empire, and the British East India Company Rule. Over time, the Nautch traveled outside the confines of the Imperial courts of the Mughals, the palaces of the Nawabs and the Princely states, and the higher echelons of the officials of the British Raj, to the places of smaller Zamindars, and other places.

Some references use the terms Nautch and Nautch girls to describe Devadasis who used to perform ritual and religious dances in the Hindu temples of India. However, there is not much similarity between the Devadasis and the Nautch girls. The former performed dances, mostly Indian classical dances, including the ritual dances, in the precincts of the Hindu temples to please the temple deities, whereas the Nautch girls performed Nautches for the pleasure of men. In 1917, attributing the adjective to a woman in India would suggest her entrancing skill, tempting style and alluring costume could mesmerize men to absolute obedience.

Usage examples of "nautch".

One of those balk-line jobs with a freak tent and half a dozen rube games rigged to pay once in ten thousand tries, a couple of animals, maybe a geek, a cotton candy bowl, and a nautch tent with half a dozen worn-over hags.

He had learned it so that, with his insatiable curiosity, his archaeological instinct, he should be able to compare it with the Nautch dance of India, the Hula-Hula of the Sandwich Islanders, the Siva of the Samoans.

He had been entertained by rajas and nawabs whose nautch dancers knew tricks that would harden the cock of a corpse.

Was it her imagination, or did the figure move and Helen heard the clink of anklets worn by Indian nautch girls and she could have sworn two hands of the Goddess started to move in the traditional gestures.

The gift consisted of a troupe of three dozen nautch girls, all of extraordinary beauty, grace, suppleness, voluptuousness and accomplishment.

Ages later when westerners again invaded the East, they found that a slim nautch girl could prove more than a match for a man.

Venus de Milo with the colouring of a Titian, the grace of a Nautch girl, the miracle-working powers of a Hindu fakir, the elocution of a Demosthenes, and the voice of a Malibran.

Hindu notion of bringing together the orderly swing of the spheres, the perpetual movement of atoms, the sensation of the human body, and evolution itself--all represented in the dancing figure of Shiva Natarajah--and in the whirling bodies of the nautch, the Hindu dancing--girls who are consecrated to the service of the gods!

I thought how she and the love of her had come to me, in the purple Indian night--precious, swift, unexpected, like a break of glimmering sunlight after a leaden gray day--and there leapt into my heart with the terrific and incalculable aim of lightning, the blinding longing for complete possession--and deliberately disentangled myself from the jumble of bitter emotions which had come to me through the thought she was a nautch, consecrated to Shiva Natarajah.

I practised my profession in the capital city of a state ruled over by a maharajah, who, although he had been a brave and honourable man in his prime, had degenerated into a mere voluptuary, spending his days in the companionship of nautch girls and disreputable men, indulging constantly in immoderate potations of strong wine, and given at times to the use of bhang, which does more than anything else to dull the faculties and deaden the conscience of the unfortunate who surrenders himself to its seductive spells.

A big drum accompaniment and a Nautch dance appear to be the leading features of the game, but for riding and hard hitting they are said to be unequalled by any players in the world.

He named one of the sauciest of the old-time nautches, and smiled at his own pun.

There were nautch joints, and blind pigs, and hallucinogen bars, and a great many hands touching him, touching him.

I wandered into the Blue Fox, and there was a naked girl doing a nautch dance on the bar.

I asked them to perform the famous nautch dance, and they obliged.