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n. pl. Tanka or Tan·kas
A member of a people inhabiting coastal areas in China, traditionally living on small boats clustered in colonies. Also called Tan.

[Cantonese daan6 gaa1, daan6, tribal name (from Middle Chinese tɦan`; also the source of Mandarin dàn), gaa1, family, people (from Middle Chinese kja⋮; also the source of Mandarin jiā).]

tan·ka 1

a. A Japanese lyric verse form having seven unrhymed lines, the first and third composed of five morae and the rest of seven.
b. A verse form in another language modeled on the Japanese tanka, typically counting syllables instead of morae.
2. A poem written in such a form.

[Japanese : tan, short (from Middle Chinese tuan´; also the source of Mandarin duǎn) + ka, song, poem (from Middle Chinese ka; also the source of Mandarin ).]

tan·ka 2

Variant of thangka.


n, pl -kas or -ka
(Poetry) a Japanese verse form consisting of five lines, the first and third having five syllables, the others seven
[C19: from Japanese, from tan short + ka verse]


(ˈtɑŋ kə)

n., pl. -kas, -ka.
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, = Chinese duǎn short + song]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.tanka - a form of Japanese poetry; the 1st and 3rd lines have five syllables and the 2nd, 4th, and 5th have seven syllables
poem, verse form - a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines
2.tanka - a Tibetan religious painting on fabric
painting, picture - graphic art consisting of an artistic composition made by applying paints to a surface; "a small painting by Picasso"; "he bought the painting as an investment"; "his pictures hang in the Louvre"