[ 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for polenta


/ (pəʊˈlɛntə) /


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