1 of 2


ro·​ly-po·​ly ˌrō-lē-ˈpō-lē How to pronounce roly-poly (audio)
: being short and pudgy : rotund


2 of 2


plural roly-polies
: a roly-poly person or thing
British : a sweet dough spread with a filling, rolled, and baked or steamed

called also roly-poly pudding

Examples of roly-poly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Wade’s gurgling pompadour matches well with his roly-poly physique and go-with-the-flow personality. Hugh Hart, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 These don’t come up as high as other boots on the market, which means a more flexible shoe, but potentially less ankle support for hikers with roly-poly ankles. Maggie Slepian, Travel + Leisure, 1 Sep. 2023 One of them gave us an impromptu tutorial in how the cotton is picked, pulled, and dyed using the region’s natural resources: a smoky brown came from avocado bark, a fluorescent green from rosemary leaves, a rich crimson from crushed roly-poly bugs. David Amsden, Travel + Leisure, 19 Aug. 2023 Joey was a roly-poly 7th grader, embittered that he’d been uprooted. Brad Townsend, Dallas News, 11 July 2023

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

Word History



reduplication of roly, from roll entry 2

First Known Use


1820, in the meaning defined above


1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of roly-poly was in 1820

Dictionary Entries Near roly-poly

Cite this Entry

“Roly-poly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: being short and fat


2 of 2 noun
plural roly-polies
: a roly-poly person or thing
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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