- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌɹəʊlɪˈpəʊli/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɹoʊliˈpoʊli/
Audio (US) (file)
Apparently from roll with -y, reduplicated with change of the initial consonant perhaps influenced by poll (“head, scalp”). Attested (sometimes spelled rowle-powle) since the seventeenth century. Compare rolly, which is attested since the nineteenth century.
- (colloquial, often childish or humorous) Short and plump.
- 1867, Grace Ramsay, A Woman’s Trials, page 157:
- She had been waiting for the little roly-poly man to tumble and roll along the deck, and had been mentally indulging her sense of humour on the scene.
- Moving with a roll and sway.
- 1966, James Workman, The Mad Emperor, Melbourne, Sydney: Scripts, page 52:
- Seianus bowed, the awkward roly-poly jerk of the fat man.
- (colloquial) A short, plump person.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:fat person
- 1893, “Jamaica Church Ladies’ Association in England”, in The Net, page 190:
- In a few weeks ‘our baby’ was a regular roly-poly, fat and frolicsome. Has she forgotten all the neglect? God grant it.
- 1991 , Amy Fay, Music-study in Germany, page 80:
- The German women are plump roly-polies, as a general rule, and it is probably in consequence of this continual “strengthening.”
- (Britain) A steamed pudding made from suet pastry containing jam or fruit.
- 1869, Emma Jane Worboise, The Fortunes of Cyril Denham, page 190:
- Dinner began and proceeded till the last piece of the roly-poly pudding was consumed, though not by Cyril
- 1873, “Rose Anna: Regina”, in Judy, Or the London Serio-comic Journal, volume 12, page 233:
- This is, indeed, an awful meal […] and there is a detestable, indigestible, unswallowable jam roly-poly to follow.
- (gymnastics) A forward roll or sideways roll.
- 1994, Patty Claycomb, Bear Hugs for Circle Time, page 14:
- When you are finished with circle time, dismiss your children by helping each one do a roly-poly roll (a somersault) and roll away to their next activity.
- 1997, Pauline Wetton, Physical Education in the Early Years, page 57:
- A ‘roly poly’ roll or a tucked sideways roll will give the children just as much pleasure and also enough exercise and knowlege of turning and rolling at this stage of their development.
- A terrestrial crustacean of suborder Oniscidea; pill bug, potato bug or sowbug.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:woodlouse
- 1995, Henry Robison and Robert Allen, Only in Arkansas: A Study of the Endemic Plants and Animals of the State, page 45:
- Terrestrial isopods, commonly known as pill bugs, sow bugs, or roly-polys, are generally familiar to most of us.
- 1997, Clark Williamson and Ronald Allen, Adventures of the Spirit, page 76:
- From the window, she sees them discover a colony of roly-polies (tiny gray bugs that roll into miniature balls in the presence of danger).
- A toy that rights itself when pushed over.
- 1950 November 27, “American-Made Toys [advertisement]”, in Life, page 79:
- BOBO The Roly Poly Clown ¶ Punch him — beat him — tackle him — Bobo will bounce right back with a smile!
- 1971, Arden J. Newsome, Crafts and Toys from around the World, page 67:
- Among the many adaptations of the Japanese tumbler toy are those known to American children as a roly-poly and a Kelly.
- (uncountable) An old game in which balls are bowled into holes or thrown into hats placed on the ground.
- 1890, John Champlin and Arthur Bostwick, The Young Folk’s Cyclopædia of Games and Sports:
- Roly Poly is a very old English game. It is sometimes played in England with hats instead of holes, and it is then often called Egg Hat.
- 1930, Ellsworth Collings, Psychology for Teachers, page 185:
- “We’d have to play outdoors though,” continued Kenneth. “Don’t you see it’s raining.” ¶ “Gee, we can play Roly Poly,” argued John.