/pol'euh nayz", poh'leuh-/, n.1. a slow dance of Polish origin, in triple meter, consisting chiefly of a march or promenade in couples.2. a piece of music for, or in the rhythm of, such a dance.3. Also, polonese /pol'euh neez", -nees", poh'leuh-/. a coatlike outer dress, combining bodice and cutaway overskirt, worn in the late 18th century over a separate skirt.[1765-75; < F, fem. of polonais Polish, equiv. to Polon- ( < ML Polonia Poland) + -ais -ESE]
* * *Dignified ceremonial dance in 34 time, frequently employing dotted rhythms, that often opened court balls in the 17th–19th century.It likely began as a warrior's triumphal dance and had been adopted by the Polish court as a formal march as early as 1573. The dancers promenaded with gliding steps accented by bending the knee slightly on every third step. It often appeared in ballets, and it was used as a musical form by composers such as George Frideric Handel, Ludwig van Beethoven, and especially Frédéric Chopin, whose piano polonaises were martial and heroic.
* * *▪ dancePolish polonezin dance, dignified ceremonial dance that from the 17th to 19th century often opened court balls and other royal functions. Likely once a warrior's triumphal dance, it was adopted by the Polish nobility as a formal march as early as 1573 for the coronation of Henry of Anjou as king of Poland. In its aristocratic form the dancers, in couples according to their social positions, promenaded around the ballroom with gliding steps accented by bending the knees slightly on every third step. Polonaise music is in 3/4 time. The dance was used as a musical form by such prominent composers as Beethoven, Handel, Mussorgsky, and Chopin.▪ dressalso spelled Polonese,in clothing, a coatlike dress, originally worn by Polish women, that was extremely popular in the 1770s and 1780s in western Europe and North America. It consisted of a fitted bodice with a full skirt, draped in front from the waist and caught up on either side at the back, so that it fell in three large loops.The underskirt, or petticoat, which showed prominently, was elaborately decorated, quilted, or embroidered. In the 19th century the polonaise gave its name to a short overcoat, usually fur-trimmed, worn by men and, somewhat later, by women.
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