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[poh-len-tuh] /poʊˈlɛn tə/
(especially in Italian cooking) a thick mush of cornmeal.
Origin of polenta
1555-65; < Italian < Latin: hulled and crushed grain, especially barley Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for polenta
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The only mention of the polenta family, apart from that of Francesca, is at Inf.

  • Might it not just as well be rice, or polenta, or even beef and bacon?

    Soliloquies in England

    George Santayana
  • An old woman and her son were cooking their polenta, but no herds were in sight.

    Italian Alps

    Douglas William Freshfield
  • Not so in London; nor were there grapes or polenta even if she desired nothing else.

    The Village of Youth Bessie Hatton
  • The other part is bad Italian—pampered Italian, fed for generations on oil and polenta.

    Rest Harrow Maurice Hewlett
British Dictionary definitions for polenta


a thick porridge made in Italy, usually from maize
Word Origin
C16: via Italian from Latin: pearl barley, perhaps from Greek palē pollen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for polenta

Old English polente, from Latin pollenta, polenta, literally "peeled barley," related to pollen "fine flour," from Proto-Indo-European *pel- (1) "flour; dust" (see pollen). Later reborrowed from Italian polenta, from the Latin word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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