Definitions

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

  • n. A stately, marchlike Polish dance, primarily a promenade by couples.
  • n. Music for or based on the traditional rhythm of this dance, having triple meter.
  • n. A woman's dress of the 18th century, having a fitted bodice and draped cutaway skirt, worn over an elaborate underskirt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stately Polish dance in triple time and moderate tempo.
  • n. Music for this dance.
  • n. A woman's dress having a tight bodice and a skirt divided to show a coloured underskirt.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the Poles, or to Poland.
  • n. The Polish language.
  • n. An article of dress for women, consisting of a body and an outer skirt in one piece.
  • n. A stately Polish dance tune, in 3-4 measure, beginning always on the beat with a quaver followed by a crotchet, and closing on the beat after a strong accent on the second beat; also, a dance adapted to such music; a polacca.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A light open gown looped up at the sides, showing the front of an elaborate petticoat, and longer behind, worn toward the close of the eighteenth century; also, a similar but plainer gown, not so much drawn back, and draped more simply, worn at the present time.
  • n. A kind of overcoat, short and usually faced and bordered with fur, worn by men who affected a semi-military dress during the first quarter of the nineteenth century.
  • n. A Polish dance, consisting mainly of a march or promenade of the dancers in procession.
  • n. Music for such a promenade, or in its peculiar rhythm, which is triple and stately, with a characteristic division of the first beat of the measures, and a capricious ending of the phrases on the last beat.

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

  • n. a woman's dress with a tight bodice and an overskirt drawn back to reveal a colorful underskirt

Etymologies

French, from feminine of polonais, Polish, from Medieval Latin Polōnia, Poland.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the French polonaise (Polish). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The first wore a white silk, called a polonaise, forming a flowing robe, open to the waist; the pink sash was six inches wide, and filled with spangles; the shoes and stockings were also spangled, and, above all, arose a towering head-dress, filled with a profusion of pearls and jewels; the veil was spangled, and edged with silver lace.

    My Lady of Doubt

  • In the olden times the polonaise was a kind of solemn ceremony.

    Frederic Chopin as a Man and Musician

  • Ax built this recital around the theme of fantasy, beginning with Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat, Op 61, in which the polonaise is a firmly focused introduction to the meandering that follows.

    Culture | guardian.co.uk

  • When, therefore, the signal for the "polonaise" resounded through the saloons, and the guests of all ranks took part in that measured promenade, which on occasions of this kind has all the importance of a national dance, the mingled costumes, the sweeping robes adorned with lace, and uniforms covered with orders, presented a scene of dazzling splendor, lighted by hundreds of lusters multiplied tenfold by the numerous mirrors adorning the walls.

    Michael Strogoff : or the Courier of the Czar

  • The ball consisted of nothing but repetitions of the dance called "polonaise," in which I had for my first partner young Prince Bariatinski, with whom I went the round of the room and afterward took a seat on the bench to watch all the dancers.

    Memoirs of Madame Vigée Lebrun

  • The "polonaise" was often danced, too, and was much less fatiguing, for this dance is nothing more than a procession in which you quietly walk two by two.

    Memoirs of Madame Vigée Lebrun

  • I thought it was called polonaise, "he answered humbly.

    The Motor Maids at Sunrise Camp

  • 'polonaise' of plain cloth, a little toque on her head trimmed with a pheasant's wing, a bunch of violets in her bosom, hastening along the

    Swann's Way

  • The forthright, hip-gyrating dance for the array of disco-dancing and drink-swigging Brits is set tightly on the polonaise Tchaikovsky called a "dance with goblets," albeit, in the original, wine-filled ones toasting that libretto's prince.

    Fair Feathered Friends

  • Because it is similar to Alsace's legendary and sauerkrauty choucroute garnie, bigos is often referred to by French cooks as "choucroute a la polonaise" despite the Poles proclaiming their version superior in every way.

    A Royal Ragout

Comments

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  • It's hard to imagine dancing to Chopin's "Military Polonaise", somehow.

    March 20, 2008

  • E.g. in Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin'.

    March 20, 2008

  • The polonaise (Polish: polonez, chodzony; Italian: polacca) is a rather slow dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 time. Its name is French for "Polish." The notation alla polacca on a score indicates that the piece should be played with the rhythm and character of a polonaise (e.g., the rondo in Beethoven's Triple Concerto op. 56 has this instruction).

    Before Frédéric Chopin, the polonaise had a rhythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note polska, and the two dances have a common origin. From Chopin onward, the polonaise developed a very solemn style, and has in that version become very popular in the classical music of several countries.

    _Wikipedia

    February 25, 2008