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[tahng-kuh] /ˈtɑŋ kə/
noun, plural tankas, tanka. Prosody
a Japanese poem consisting of 31 syllables in 5 lines, with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 in the others.
1915-20; < Japanese < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese duǎn short + song; cf. renga Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tanka
  • Have students create a tanka poem about something found in nature.
British Dictionary definitions for tanka


noun (pl) -kas, -ka
a Japanese verse form consisting of five lines, the first and third having five syllables, the others seven
Word Origin
C19: from Japanese, from tan short + ka verse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for tanka

form of Japanese verse, from Japanese tanka, from tan "short" + ka "song."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for tanka

in literature, a five-line, 31-syllable poem that has historically been the basic form of Japanese poetry. The term tanka is synonymous with the term waka (q.v.), which more broadly denotes all traditional Japanese poetry in classical forms

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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