Definition of polka in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpō(l)kə/


1A lively dance of Bohemian origin in duple time.
Example sentences
  • She notified her parents of her well-being, justified her expenditures and asked for more money, and kept her friends and family entertained with the details of Paris festivals and dancing the polka.
  • Traditional dances such as the krakowiak, oberek, mazur, and the zbo'jnicki will be enjoyed at such occasions, as well as the polka, a popular dance.
  • It was his flatmate who eventually roused them, crashing in through the front door exhorting the flat to come and see him dance the polka.
1.1A piece of music for the polka.
Example sentences
  • Welser-Möst's biggest surprise was to devote half a program to a suite of Johann Strauss waltzes and polkas, fare usually reserved for New Year's Eve or other light-hearted occasions.
  • Martial music, a polka, a fantasy on Verdi's ‘Jerusalem’, even variations on the Portuguese national anthem, make this multi-faceted offering a continuing surprise.
  • As the minstrel show emerged, American publishers sought to attract amateur musicians and provided a flow of spirituals, gospel songs, polkas, and Schottisches, as well as innumerable sentimental ballads and salon pieces.

verb (polkas, polkaing, polkaed or polka'd)

[no object]
Dance the polka.
Example sentences
  • Nobody knew that, and we weren't supposed to tell anybody, but she would come up, let him hold her glasses, and he'd start polkaing with her.
  • Several of the men let out whoops of merriment and two stood and began to polka around the fire with each other, causing laughs and jeers from the others.
  • They tried to polka, and I educated them throughout the whole set as to who wrote the songs.


Mid 19th century: via French and German from Czech půlka 'half step', from půl 'half'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pol·ka

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.