Definition of polka in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpō(l)kə/ /ˈpoʊ(l)kə/

Translate polka into Spanish


  • 1A lively dance of Bohemian origin in duple time.

    ‘they finished off by dancing the polka’
    • ‘polkas are danced to sprightly music in 2/4 time’
    • ‘She notified her parents of her well-being, justified her expenditures and asked for more money, and kept her friends and family entertained with the details of Paris festivals and dancing the polka.’
    • ‘Traditional dances such as the krakowiak, oberek, mazur, and the zbo'jnicki will be enjoyed at such occasions, as well as the polka, a popular dance.’
    • ‘It was his flatmate who eventually roused them, crashing in through the front door exhorting the flat to come and see him dance the polka.’
    • ‘Many Paraguayan dances resemble the polka as well as the waltz and the tango.’
    • ‘The polka was a lively couple dance in 2/4 time, generally in ternary form with regular phrases, and was characterized by short rapid steps for the first beat and a half of the bar, followed by a pause or hop.’
    • ‘Grace rests at the side of the small ballroom as she watches Carey dance a polka with Johnny Pritchett.’
    • ‘Then it was the roustabout galop and the polka that were all the rage.’
    • ‘Can't blame him for preferring the samba to the polka.’
    • ‘These guys are medley maniacs - Saint Bushmill's put together a three-part one for the reel, the jig, and the polka - each!’
    • ‘The complexity of polka as a folk dance of international proportions blurs the distinctions between folk and world music and belies any attempts to classify it with convenient stylistic and cultural categories.’
    • ‘He indicates that the Irish dances were fine, as long as there was not enough room for the more refined movements of the polka, quadrille, or minuet.’
    • ‘As Keil notes, ‘most of middle-class Polonia hates the polka with a passion deeper than the Atlantic’.’
    • ‘A geek film if ever there was one, UHF finally hits DVD care of MGM in a fine edition that will make fans all over the world rise up and do the polka!’
    • ‘In short, we had an excellent time, and not just because we knew the polka from ‘The King and I.’’
    • ‘The polka and waltz are very popular, but Slovenes dance all major dances from the tango to the macarena.’
    • ‘I mean, his most fun was he'd invite people out of the audience to do the polka.’
    • ‘Most Americans are familiar with the polka, but few of them know that it is a Czech courtship dance.’
    • ‘Of course, there are those of us who don't frequent the festhallen strictly for the polka.’
    • ‘Most would agree that it is probably better to have rhythm than to simply be good at doing the polka.’
    • ‘I did my first polka at their wedding not too - it was exhausting.’
    1. 1.1A piece of music for the polka.
      ‘a local oompah band played waltzes and polkas’
      • ‘Welser-Möst's biggest surprise was to devote half a program to a suite of Johann Strauss waltzes and polkas, fare usually reserved for New Year's Eve or other light-hearted occasions.’
      • ‘Martial music, a polka, a fantasy on Verdi's ‘Jerusalem’, even variations on the Portuguese national anthem, make this multi-faceted offering a continuing surprise.’
      • ‘As the minstrel show emerged, American publishers sought to attract amateur musicians and provided a flow of spirituals, gospel songs, polkas, and Schottisches, as well as innumerable sentimental ballads and salon pieces.’
      • ‘For over five decades Vienna has celebrated the New Year with a concert of waltzes and polkas by the Strauss family and Austria's later ‘waltz kings’.’
      • ‘Was this going to be an evening of polkas or folk music at the Oddfellows Hall?’
      • ‘Soprano Rosalind Sutherland sings in the New Year with an excellent selection of arias, polkas, marches and waltzes from Strauss.’
      • ‘The first features something roughly analogous to a disco beat, topped off with a bassline that owes debts to the early-1970s Krautrock of Neu! and the rather more down-home sound of the polka.’
      • ‘Elsewhere Sanderling displayed a truly Brucknerian spirit, particularly in the lovely ländler in the scherzo and even more so in the polka that winds its irresistible way through the final movement.’
      • ‘The music of Johnny O Leary was credited with fostering a renewed interest in traditional Irish dance and he was a firm favourite with those who enjoy a lively polka or sets.’
      • ‘Another trademark of this religion is their really silly music which sounds like a cross between the polka and a Mexican Mariachi band on crank.’
      • ‘They embrace as the polka tune that repeats in her head returns.’
      • ‘Combining the Mexican music of his family with the polka he heard played among the German/Czechoslovakian settlers, and the blues, Freddy developed a style all his own.’
      • ‘It was in fact the polka that gained him a following outside the folk circuit several years ago in Argentina, and he still includes several in his live repertoire.’
      • ‘That, and you get to hear a polka for your entire ride.’
      • ‘But I think there are people that are kinda baffled when you go from a polka to a heavy metal jam.’
      • ‘Happy Louie was best known for mixing styles into his polkas including Latin, country and western, and rock and roll.’
      • ‘A group of promising young musicians, accompanied by Peter Duffy, played a selection of polkas, marches, and the lovely air ‘Inis Oirr’.’
      • ‘Along with a group performance, the concert highlighted some great solo and duet musicians as they played a selection of lively traditional jigs, reels and polkas.’
      • ‘The variety of instruments alone is a testimony to the healthy state of traditional music in the area and tunes types include double jigs, reels, polkas, airs, barn dances, slip jigs and hornpipes.’
      • ‘The Hick-Ups play antiquated styles like the waltz, the polka, country swing and rockabilly.’

intransitive verbpolkas, polkaing, polkaed, polka'd

[no object]
  • Dance the polka.

    ‘a man and wife polkaing are easy to spot’
    • ‘Nobody knew that, and we weren't supposed to tell anybody, but she would come up, let him hold her glasses, and he'd start polkaing with her.’
    • ‘Several of the men let out whoops of merriment and two stood and began to polka around the fire with each other, causing laughs and jeers from the others.’
    • ‘They tried to polka, and I educated them throughout the whole set as to who wrote the songs.’
    • ‘And it's a natural for musicals, where we've seen, for example, the King of Siam transformed from a bully to a man when he learns to polka.’
    • ‘Booze is slam dancing in a world that polkas its cares away.’


Mid 19th century via French and German from Czech půlka ‘half-step’, from půl ‘half’.