Posted by: Jack Henry | June 21, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Going Dotty

The other day, I was wondering about this fad that goes in and out of style: polka dots! Where does the term come from, and why does this dot have a special name? The Grammarist tries to explain.

Polka dot is a term that has its origins in the mid-1800s. We will examine the definition of the word polka dot, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

A polka dot is one round, solid spot that is part of a pattern of spots spread across a fabric or other material in an equidistant pattern. The plural form is polka dots, note that there is no hyphen. The adjective form is properly rendered as polka-dotted, though the term polka dot is often seen used as an adjective. The word polka dot first appeared in the 1870s, named after the dance craze that swept Britain and the United States at this time, the polka. The polka is a Bohemian dance in double time. The polka was such a hot fad at the time, many things were named after it such as polka gauze and polka hats. The only remnant of this craze is the term polka dot. The word polka is derived from the Czech word půlka, which means half-step.

Preparing to do the Pennsylvania Polka at Gobbler’s Knob, with Punxatawney Phil

Polka dots!

“To go dotty” is an idiom meaning:

1. To become somewhat eccentric, odd, or mentally unbalanced. Jackson started going dotty after spending a month by himself in his cabin.

2. To become forgetful or absent-minded, especially due to senility or old age in general. Grandpa’s been going a bit dotty lately, I don’t know if he can take care of himself anymore.

3. To become very excited or enthusiastic (about something). I’ve never understood that pop star’s popularity, but kids just go dotty over her music.

From The Free Dictionary.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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