[ pohl-kuh, poh-kuh ]

noun,plural pol·kas.
  1. a lively couple dance of Bohemian origin, with music in duple meter.

  2. a piece of music for such a dance or in its rhythm.

verb (used without object),pol·kaed, pol·ka·ing.
  1. to dance the polka.

Origin of polka

1835–45; <Czech: literally, Polish woman or girl; compare Polish polka Polish woman, polak Pole

Words Nearby polka

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use polka in a sentence

  • Ted, the toddler, appeared onscreen in a black bathing suit with white polka dots.

  • Across his shoulder he carried a bundle knotted into an old red handkerchief with a polka spot.

    A Lost Hero | Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward and Herbert D. Ward
  • A handkerchief, once red, with polka spots, contained a ragged flannel shirt and a stocking-heel tied with a piece of tape.

    A Lost Hero | Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward and Herbert D. Ward
  • The ice was broken; Charming took the young girl by the waist, and in less than half an hour taught her the last new polka.

  • The next time he came across her he asked if she would like to dance the first polka with him.

    The Fourth Estate, vol. 2 | Armando Palacio Valds
  • The waltz and polka used to be considered bad enough to get you kicked out of the churches.

    What Will People Say? | Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for polka


/ (ˈpɒlkə) /

nounplural -kas
  1. a 19th-century Bohemian dance with three steps and a hop, in fast duple time

  2. a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance

verb-kas, -kaing or -kaed
  1. (intr) to dance a polka

Origin of polka

C19: via French from Czech pulka half-step, from pul half

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

Cultural definitions for polka


A lively dance for couples, originating in eastern Europe.

Notes for polka

Johann Strauss, the Younger wrote many polkas.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.