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OT:Where did the term "polka dots" come from?

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  • Fred G Kovalyak
    Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 04:33:46 -0500 Dear Yahoo!: Where did the term polka dots come from? Dear Gene: To hunt down the mysterious origins of the polka
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25, 2004
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      Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 04:33:46 -0500

      Dear Yahoo!:
      Where did the term "polka dots" come from?

      Dear Gene:
      To hunt down the mysterious origins of the "polka
      dots," we hit all the usual suspects: The Word
      Detective, The Straight Dope, and the intriguing
      trivia resource Mindless Crap. They all told us the
      same thing -- follow the polka.

      In the 19th century, polka dancing enjoyed an immense
      popularity that lasted over 50 years. Europe and
      America went crazy for the exciting new dance that
      featured actual physical contact between the opposite
      sexes. Polka rags were all the rage, and the "Rail
      Splitter Polka" was composed for President Lincoln's
      inauguration.

      The result? Folks cashed in. There were polka hats,
      polka socks, polka curtains, and polka dots. Which
      isn't to say that the aforementioned hats, socks, and
      curtains were covered in dots. It was just a fun,
      popular word to affix to a product. The dots just
      managed to outlive the polka fad.

      As for the word "polka" itself, a Yahoo! Reference
      entry suggests that it might come from the Polish for
      "Polish woman." Others suggest that it comes from the
      Czech word "pulka" for half, referring to the short,
      lively steps of the dance. Regardless of its
      etymology, the dots remain the same.






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