Definition of roly-poly in English:



  • (of a person) having a round, plump appearance.

    ‘a roly-poly young boy’
    • ‘First we popped in on a roly-poly Alsatian farm wife and watched her brewing outrageously smelly Munster cheese to the accompaniment of tub-thumping Bavarian music.’
    • ‘An old lady with a roly-poly figure waddled her way over to me and gave me a friendly smile.’
    • ‘The roly-poly, laughing baby who, come to think of it, looks remarkably like a little Buddha.’
    • ‘She is the mother of three roly-poly, jolly children, and the wife of a roly-poly, not-so-jolly butcher.’
    • ‘The others were all middle-aged roly-poly bearded guys.’
    • ‘With Phys Ed cut from public school curriculum in favor of computer class, physical activity among today's roly-poly kids is down.’
    • ‘Played by two women, their portrayal of the huffy, roly-poly cartoon-like Russians was very amusing.’
    • ‘This could have been played seriously as in a caper film and worked much better than the roly-poly actor stumbling around trying to pull off the job for comic effect.’
    • ‘Rick was getting out of the shotgun seat and a roly-poly man with glasses was getting out of the driver's seat.’
    • ‘Despite the copious amounts they can pack away, roly-poly types are less common than lanky or athletic builds, sometimes with the equine features of their symbol.’
    chubby, plump, fat, stout, rotund, buxom, well upholstered, well covered, well padded, of ample proportions, ample, round, rounded, well rounded, full, fattish, dumpy, chunky, broad in the beam, portly, overweight, fleshy, paunchy, bulky, corpulent
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  • 1British mass noun A pudding made of a sheet of suet pastry covered with jam or fruit, formed into a roll, and steamed or baked.

    ‘a nice bit of jam roly-poly’
    • ‘They will be cooking chicken rogan josh followed by apple and cinnamon roly-poly in the final.’
    • ‘Everything was cooked in the one utensil; the square of bacon, amounting to little more than a taste each; cabbage, or other green vegetables, in one net, potatoes in another, and the roly-poly swathed in a cloth.’
    • ‘Formerly roly-poly pudding was boiled in a pudding cloth; but the skill of enclosing a pudding of this shape in a cloth has now mostly been lost.’
    • ‘Bangers and mash and roly-poly pudding were on the menu and prizes were presented by Mayor, Councillor Barbara Shone for the most authentic costumes.’
    • ‘The list of puddings included deep pan apple pie, jam roly-poly and treacle sponge.’
  • 2Australian A bushy tumbleweed.

    Several species, in particular a saltwort (Salsola kali, family Chenopodiaceae) which is able to grow away from saline habitats


Early 17th century: fanciful formation from the verb roll.