[ roh-lee-poh-lee, -poh-lee ]
/ ˈroʊ liˈpoʊ li, -ˌpoʊ li /
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short and plumply round, as a person or a young animal.

noun, plural ro·ly-po·lies.

a roly-poly person or thing.
Chiefly British. a sheet of biscuit dough spread with jam, fruit, or the like, rolled up and steamed or baked.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of roly-poly

1595–1605; earlier rowle powle, rowly-powly worthless fellow, game involving rolling balls, rhyming compound based on roll (v.); for second element cf. poll1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for roly-poly

British Dictionary definitions for roly-poly

/ (ˈrəʊlɪˈpəʊlɪ) /


plump, buxom, or rotund

noun plural -lies

British a strip of suet pastry spread with jam, fruit, or a savoury mixture, rolled up, and baked or steamed as a pudding
a plump, buxom, or rotund person
Australian an informal name for tumbleweed

Word Origin for roly-poly

C17: apparently by reduplication from roly, from roll
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