• synonyms


[roh-lee-poh-lee, -poh-lee]
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  1. short and plumply round, as a person or a young animal.
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noun, plural ro·ly-po·lies.
  1. a roly-poly person or thing.
  2. Chiefly British. a sheet of biscuit dough spread with jam, fruit, or the like, rolled up and steamed or baked.
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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

Synonyms for roly-poly

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Antonyms for roly-poly

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for roly-poly

fat, overweight, round, stout, plump, buxom, chubby, dumpy, hefty, obese, rotund, tubby, plumpish

Examples from the Web for roly-poly

Historical Examples of roly-poly

  • They replied, "in two miles you will be amongst the roly-poly."

    Reminiscences of Queensland

    William Henry Corfield

  • Fanny has made the roly-poly pudding,' says he; the chops are my part.

    The Book of Snobs

    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • "I think they're lots of fun," said roly-poly Agnes, giggling again.

  • Oh, a man can hold his own with an English roly-poly mate: he's not stifled!

  • Aunt Madge had said so; also a roly-poly with foaming sauce.

    Captain Horace

    Sophie May

British Dictionary definitions for roly-poly


  1. plump, buxom, or rotund
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noun plural -lies
  1. British a strip of suet pastry spread with jam, fruit, or a savoury mixture, rolled up, and baked or steamed as a pudding
  2. a plump, buxom, or rotund person
  3. Australian an informal name for tumbleweed
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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

Word Origin and History for roly-poly


"short and stout," 1820, probably a varied reduplication of roll (v.). As a noun, it was used as the name of various ball games from 1713, and it was used as early as 1610s in the sense of "rascal." As an appellation of a short, stout person, from 1836.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper