A Scottish country dance (SCD) is a form of social dance involving groups of couples of dancers tracing progressive patterns according to a predetermined choreography. Country dancing is often considered a type of folk dancing. Although the dances have their roots in folk, the roots of the dancers were from the more educated and wealthy classes who were used to the courtly dances of the Renaissance.
When it first became popular around the 18th century it was as a shorter, quicker form of dance that was a light relief from the more courtly dances. Derived from early British forms of Country dancing SCD is related to English country dancing, contra dancing, cèilidh dancing, Old time dancing and Irish set dancing due to the combination of some of these dance forms in early Country dance forms and later crossed-over, introduced by their overlapping influences via dancers and dance masters.
Scottish country dancing (a social form of dance with three or more couples of dancers) should not be confused with Scottish highland dance (a solo form of dance). There is a certain amount of cross-over, in that there are Scottish country dances that include highland elements as well as highland-style performance dances which use formations otherwise seen in country dances, but these are relatively few when the two dance forms are considered each as a whole.