- a Japanese poem consisting of 31 syllables in 5 lines, with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 in the others.
Origin of tanka
1915–20; < Japanese < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese duǎn short + gē song; cf. renga
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tanka
Sooner or later this crystallized into what is called a tanka or short ode.
Typical of this kind of painting are the pictures of Tanka burning the Image.Zen Buddhism
By dropping the "a" before "tanka" we have changed the name to Big Water.The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems
H. L. Gordon
The concluding hemistich, whereby the hokku becomes the tanka, is existent in the writer's mind, but never uttered.
Some one would utter the first three lines of a tanka and some one else would cap the composition by adding the last two.
- a Japanese verse form consisting of five lines, the first and third having five syllables, the others seven
C19: from Japanese, from tan short + ka verse
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 tanka
form of Japanese verse, from Japanese tanka, from tan "short" + ka "song."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper