po·​lo·​naise ˌpä-lə-ˈnāz How to pronounce polonaise (audio)
: an elaborate short-sleeved overdress with a fitted waist and a draped cutaway overskirt
: a stately Polish processional dance popular in 19th century Europe
: music for this dance in moderate ³/₄ time

Illustration of polonaise

Illustration of polonaise
  • polonaise 1

Examples of polonaise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mac begins the evening in fifties-hostess splendor: a wig of rose-colored tulle, pink cigarette pants, and a dress with panniers à la polonaise. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2024 The president, accompanied by other distinguished guests, was all smiles, dancing a polonaise, shaking hands and posing for pictures with festive participants. Danuta Hamlin, Fox News, 7 Oct. 2023 The technique of frying beans, cauliflower and asparagus with breadcrumbs is known as polonaise. Nikki O'Neill, Chicago Tribune, 18 Apr. 2023 The declamations at the opening of the polonaise were a perfect opportunity to highlight the clarion strength and precision of the brass. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2022 And the Boston Ballet Orchestra, under music director Mischa Santora, gave an easy lilt to the proceedings, particularly the first-act waltz and polonaise. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, 27 May 2022 By 1894, Favre recognizes that the Tartars had nothing to do with either the sauce or the preparation, which, by then, was described as coming from Poland—à la polonaise. Bill Buford, The New Yorker, 17 Dec. 2020 The five variations range from carnivalesque to a polonaise, a type of Polish dance. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 20 Oct. 2020 Clad in black tails and a cravat, Felder begins with a rendition of a simple polonaise — a traditional form of Polish dance music — that Chopin wrote at age 7. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'polonaise.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from feminine of polonais Polish, from Pologne Poland, from Medieval Latin Polonia

First Known Use

1740, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of polonaise was in 1740

Dictionary Entries Near polonaise

Cite this Entry

“Polonaise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polonaise. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


po·​lo·​naise ˌpäl-ə-ˈnāz How to pronounce polonaise (audio)
: a dignified 19th century Polish dance

from French polonaise "a fancy woman's dress or gown," literally, "a Polish gown," from polonaise (adjective), feminine form of polonais "Polish"

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