(especially in Italian cooking) a thick mush of cornmeal.

Origin of polenta

1555–65; < Italian < Latin: hulled and crushed grain, especially barley
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for polenta

oatmeal, gruel, mush, grout, frumenty, loblolly, pottage, burgoo, crowdie, samp

Examples from the Web for polenta

Contemporary Examples of polenta

Historical Examples of polenta

  • 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 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 for polenta

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

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