from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An area of low-lying land, especially in the Netherlands, that has been reclaimed from a body of water and is protected by dikes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A boggy or marshy soil; a morass; specifically, a tract of marshy land in the Netherlands, Flanders, and northern Germany, which has been reclaimed and brought under cultivation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Holland & Belgium A tract of low land reclaimed from the sea by of high embankments.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An area of ground reclaimed from a sea or lake by means of dikes.

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

  • noun low-lying land that has been reclaimed and is protected by dikes (especially in the Netherlands)


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

[Dutch, from Middle Dutch.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Dutch. The root is 'pol', which is the same as 'ball'. A 'pol' was a low artificial hill in a coastal marshland whereupon a farmhouse could be build. The original plural was probably 'poller', which became 'polder'. From the small hill the word eventually referred to the land around it.


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  • Reclaimed lowlands, as in the Netherlands; reclaimed from the sea and protected by dikes. Used by Jared Diamond in "Collapse" ("the Earth is a polder").

    April 2, 2007

  • "Their big pile, which weighs down the middle of the island with its austere vernacular chunkiness, is dubbed 'Holland', because of some Traill's dubious notion that this green lozenge resembled the fertile polders of the Netherlands."

    Psychogeography by Will Self, 228

    October 17, 2010