Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A lively dance originating in Bohemia and performed by couples.
  • n. Music for this dance, having duple meter.
  • intransitive v. To dance the polka.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lively dance originating in Bohemia.
  • n. The music for this dance.
  • v. To dance the polka.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A dance of Polish origin, but now common everywhere. It is performed by two persons in common time.
  • n. A lively Bohemian or Polish dance tune in 2-4 measure, with the third quaver accented.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A lively round dance which originated in Bohemia about 1830, and was soon after introduced into Austria, France, and England, where it immediately attained a remarkable popularity.
  • n. Music for such a dance or in its rhythm, which is duple, and marked by a capricious accent on the second beat, frequently followed by a rest.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. dance a polka
  • n. music performed for dancing the polka
  • n. a Bohemian dance with 3 steps and a hop in fast time

Etymologies

Czech, probably from Polish, from Polka, Polish woman, feminine of Polak, Pole; see pelə-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Czech polka, variant of půlka ("half") as in "half-step". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • My car is covered in polka dots and daisies and elicits the funniest looks from people.

    Friday Fill-Ins

  • (“While the polka is passé, the polka-dot is here to stay …”) Alice Faye and Carmen Miranda were at an apex and for better and worse many of the images here are the ones North America will most remember Miranda for, including “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat” and “Brazil”.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • "Now, that's what I call a polka!" said the girl, and began to swing round.

    The Girl from the Marsh Croft

  • Jim Kucera, a former Sladky musician now serving as band director for Waverly Middle School, said Mathias "taught me to enjoy and take pride in Czech polka music, or it just would not be worth it."

    JournalStar.com - News Articles

  • The tree bore for me a 'polka'-jacket to wear in the house - grey tweed, trimmed with blue, and lined with blue quilted silk - quite charming.

    Selections from the Letters of Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury to Jane Welsh Carlyle

  • i dont know what im gonna wear im gonna buy tickets for phil for his 21st to see either lagwagon or unwritten law and mxpx - i'll let him decide i dont mind going to either ... why are they called polka dots??? hmmm .... i've seen it all befores - i've known it all along

    anasthesia Diary Entry

  • Perforated beamsplitters (often termed polka-dot beamsplitters; see Figure 8 (c)) are fabricated by coating an optical glass substrate with a thin layer of aluminum in fixed-size square apertures.

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  • This one is called the polka dot sandwich with peanut butter, low fat cream cheese and raisins.

    News10Now - TOP STORIES

  • Go for cheerful prints — such as polka dots, florals, paisleys or leopard patterns — in shiny silk, thin silk chiffon or cotton gauze.

    The Best Scarf to Wear Over Your Hair

  • Savvy marketers capitalized on the fad by adding the word "polka" to merchandise that had nothing to do with the dance.

    ASK TIP SHEET

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Comments

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  • In SBC the root for the country name is 'polj-', whereas 'half' is 'pol-'. So, this makes sense.

    December 24, 2009

  • I had thought that this word must have originally referred to a Polish dance, but apparently the dance originated in Bohemia and the name derives from the Czech word půlka (of which polka would be an earlier spelling), meaning "half-step".

    December 23, 2009

  • He is pretty dreamy. ;)

    January 28, 2008

  • I can't say this word without swallowing the "L" all Tom-Brokaw-like. Sigh....

    April 27, 2007