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

  • n. A Japanese verse form in five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the rest of seven.
  • n. A Tibetan religious painting on fabric, usually portraying the Buddha or lamas in stereotyped aspects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a form of Japanese verse in five lines of 5,7,5,7,7 syllables
  • n. a strong, forceful expression
  • n. a Tibetan painting of the Buddha on fabric.
  • n. A kind of boat used in Canton, about 25 feet long and often rowed by women.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of boat used in Canton. It is about 25 feet long and is often rowed by women. Called also tankia.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The boat population of Canton in southern China, the descendants of an aboriginal tribe named Tan, who were driven by the advance of Chinese civilization to live in boats upon the river, and who have for centuries been forbidden to live on the land.

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

  • n. a Tibetan religious painting on fabric
  • n. a form of Japanese poetry; the 1st and 3rd lines have five syllables and the 2nd, 4th, and 5th have seven syllables


Tibetan thaṅka, something rolled up.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese 短歌 (たんか, tanka, "short song"). (Wiktionary)
From Japanese 啖呵 (tanka). (Wiktionary)


  • In it, the concluding hemistich of the tanka is left off, and it is just in his hemistich that the meaning of the poem is brought out, so that the hokku is a mere essence, a whiff of an idea to be created in full by the hearer.

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • We paid the performers one tanka, which is about eight cents, each.

    The Mount Everest Expedition

  • Sooner or later this crystallized into what is called a tanka or short ode.

    Japanese Prints

  • A tanka is a 31 syllable poem that pre-dates the Haiku.

    BC Bloggers

  • Yosano is the grandson of two famous poets of traditional "tanka" verse.

    Turkish Press

  • | + A '' tanka '' poem by {{nihongo | 一休宗純 | Ikkyuu Soujun |}} [mailto: mvallen@PRIMENET.COM Mark Vallen] in memoriam to Kondou's passing maboroshi to kiyu inazuma no kage no gotoku ni mi wa omou beshi!!

    GhibliWiki - Recent changes [en]

  • The Nobel-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe has said that the modern Japanese prose of Tanizaki and Kawabata finds its roots in the ancient short verse of tanka and haiku—forms marked by brevity, elegance and highly refined naturalism.

    Rebel Ascendant

  • He has written a collection of Japanese tanka poems about his experience searching for his son and composed musical pieces, including a "requiem" performed by his wife, Mari, and dedicated to Yoichi.

    Families Around the World Mourn Loved Ones

  • We brought in the May and as we crowned each other we made the last line of the tanka into an improvised chant.

    Elizabeth Cunningham: Celebrating Beltane: Courage in Hard Times

  • I immediately fell in love with haiku and tanka and wrote them frequently, often in the margins of my notebooks when I should have been listening to the teacher.

    Archive 2010-05-01


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