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90s Slang You Should Know


[pol-ee-an-uh] /ˌpɒl iˈæn ə/
an excessively or blindly optimistic person.
(often lowercase). Also, Pollyannaish. unreasonably or illogically optimistic:
some pollyanna notions about world peace.
Origin of Pollyanna
from the name of the child heroine created by Eleanor Porter (1868-1920), American writer
Related forms
Pollyannaism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Pollyanna
Historical Examples
  • With a sinking heart, too, she realized something else: the dreariness of her own future now without Pollyanna.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • Pollyanna died and, of course, she was glad and went to Heaven.

    Seeing Things at Night Heywood Broun
  • And down plumped Pollyanna in the middle of the dirt path by the old man's side.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • Over and over again she was wondering just what sort of child this Pollyanna was, anyway.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • And Pollyanna, looking into his face, wondered why there were tears in his eyes.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • Pollyanna, be good enough, please, to stand erect in a proper manner.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • Down the attic stairs sped Pollyanna, leaving both doors wide open.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • Pollyanna drew back at once, laughing a little hysterically.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • It was then that Pollyanna, for the first time in weeks, suddenly remembered something Nancy had once told her.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • "I reckon maybe they're my flies, Aunt Polly," observed Pollyanna, amiably.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
British Dictionary definitions for Pollyanna


a person who is constantly or excessively optimistic
Derived Forms
Pollyannaish, adjective
Word Origin
C20: after the chief character in Pollyanna (1913), a novel by Eleanor Porter (1868–1920), US writer
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 Pollyanna

"one who finds cause for gladness in the most difficult situations," 1921, a reference to Pollyanna Whittier, child heroine of U.S. novelist Eleanor Hodgman Porter's "Pollyanna" (1913) and "Pollyanna Grows Up" (1915), who was noted for keeping her chin up during disasters.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Pollyanna in Culture

Pollyanna definition

(1913) A children's book by the American author Eleanor H. Porter. The title character is an orphan girl who, despite the difficulties of her life, is always extremely cheerful.

Note: A “Pollyanna” remains excessively sweet-tempered and optimistic even in adversity.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for Pollyanna



An irrepressibly cheery person; undaunted optimist: or were we all a crowd of Pollyannas?

[1913+; fr the title and heroine of a novel by Eleanor Hodgman Porter, 1868–1920]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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