Definition of polonaise in English:



  • 1A slow dance of Polish origin in triple time, consisting chiefly of an intricate march or procession.

    ‘a polonaise and mazurka danced by the Theatre's famous ballet school’
    • ‘Between polonaises and mazurkas, character teacher David Boyet emphasizes artistry as he demonstrates epaulement.’
    • ‘There would be no lines of wilis in arabesque drawn magnetically together in Giselle, nor any grand polonaise for the ensemble in Theme and Variations.’
    • ‘The energetic polonaise and waltz will kick off the dancing, introduced by debut dancers from the German language school in Sofia with their choreographer Ventsislav Dermendjiev.’
    • ‘The film ends with Poles dancing their traditional polonaise to celebrate a military victory over the Russians.’
    • ‘We then launch into the polonaise, which is where I have a bit of a problem with this choreography.’
    • ‘In a short scene the Poles, characterised by mazurkas and polonaises, lament the downturn in their fortunes and decide to go in search of the new Russian Tsar and capture him.’
    1. 1.1 A piece of music for the polonaise.
      ‘he played a polonaise by Chopin’
      • ‘Although Telemann tampered with even basic characteristics of Polish folk music (Chopin would have blanched at the idea of a polonaise in duple time!)’
      • ‘His pieces have a simple, homespun character that is notably independent of Western influences, and the large repertory of early 19th-century polonaises, including the earliest attempts by Chopin, owed a good deal to his model.’
      • ‘Suddenly a Chopin polonaise fills the room, soft and enchanting and so otherworldly that nurses pause on their rounds to listen and some patients take a break from their pain.’
      • ‘One of the soloists that evening - young violinist Valja Dervenska - performed the Brilliant polonaise by Wieniawski with passion and virtuosity.’
      • ‘Sixteen preparatory pieces, such as preludes, études, bagatelles, barcarolles, nocturnes and polonaises, present, reinforce and prepare students for what is coming next.’
      • ‘Two polonaises rounded off the generous all-Chopin half.’
      • ‘It also may be played more slowly, since some writers have described it incorrectly as being in the style of a polonaise.’
      • ‘The polonaises in C minor, op. 40, and A-flat major, op. 53, only further corroborated the point that Kissin is above all a marvelous Chopin interpreter, on a level which only a handful of his peers attain.’
      • ‘There are, for example, a polka, a fughetta, a rondo, a rondino, an impromptu, a mazurka, a barcarolle, two arabesques, a ragtime, three polonaises, a tango and a rumba, not to mention a sequence of four nocturnes.’
      • ‘The recital consists of essentially triple-time dance music - mazurkas, waltzes, and polonaises - although you might find it difficult to trip the light fantastic to any of this.’
      • ‘I would recommend Vladimir Horowitz's recordings of the études and mazurkas, Artur Rubinstein's recordings of the polonaises and concertos, and Luiz de Moura-Castro's recordings of the ‘Ballade in G minor’ and the nocturnes.’
      • ‘The four top prizes include $18,000, $12,000, $8,000 and $5,000, with special $1,000 prizes for the best performance of a mazurka, polonaise and concerto.’
      • ‘The most extraordinary musical evocation is undoubtedly the rendering of a John Cleese prose poem by the Monty Python Team (in the film The Meaning of Life) that tells the life of Cromwell set to the music of a polonaise by Chopin.’
      • ‘Every now and then they stretch to a nocturne (average running time: five minutes) or polonaise (around six minutes), but seldom a ballade (close to ten).’
  • 2historical A woman's dress with a tight bodice and a skirt open from the waist downwards, looped up to show a decorative underskirt.

    ‘a black velvet polonaise with jet buttons’
    • ‘Her lips were a red of the same tint, as was the polonaise she was so daintily flaunting - over which, she wore a black cloak.’
    • ‘They'll cut you up like spare ribbons on Mademoiselle Jebraiel's polonaise!’
    • ‘The polonaise was usually cut like a princess dress, without a waist seam, and often differed from it only in that it was not full length.’


  • (of a dish) garnished with chopped hard-boiled egg yolk, breadcrumbs, and parsley.

    ‘polonaise sauce and trout sauce are specially made’
    • ‘I took the roast fillet of beef in a parsley crust with asparagus polonaise and turnip and turned carrots.’
    • ‘Other egg sauces include those in which chopped hard-cooked eggs are an ingredient such as Polonaise Sauce.’


Mid 18th century: from French, feminine of polonais ‘Polish’, from medieval Latin Polonia ‘Poland’.