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April 16, 2022

Pollyannaish /Pol·ly·an·na·ish / adj.

Definition: We derive the term “pollyannaish” from the word ‘Pollyana.’ We use the word “Pollyanna” in the English language as a term to describe a person who is excessively optimistic, happy, and always positive. “Pollyanna” is the name of a character in a popular children’s series written by Eleanor Hodgman in the 18th century. 

Hodgeman created Pollyanna’s character as an 11-year-old orphan who learned to find goodness in every aspect of life. The character in the children’s book was so successful at her strategy that she transformed the immediate world around her. When we say someone is acting like a Pollyanna or Pollyannaish, we’re saying they are exhibiting these optimistic qualities.

Etymology: We find the first use of the term “Pollyanna” in Eleanor Hodgman’s children’s stories that became popular in the late 18th-century. “Pollyanna” is the heroine of the children’s stories that are cataloged from the late 18th-century through the early 1920s. We still use the term today in English to denote people with a positive outlook on life who always find the bright side of any situation.

In a Sentence

She behaved in a pollyannaish fashion to feel better about her life.

The girl believed her rival was acting “pollyannaish” or like a “goody-two-shoes.”

We often wonder if “pollyannaish” people are behaving genuinely.


Optimistic, Positive


Pessimistic, Negative


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