A haiku is a three-line poem where the first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and the third has five. The style originated in Japan, and while anything can be the subject, most traditional haiku are about nature.

Here’s a haiku: "If you can’t pronounce / the word haiku, remember / big HIGH, little coo." The word haiku is a shortened version of the Japanese phrase haikai no ku, which translates as “light verse.” Most haiku are simple poems, often about natural wonders. They don’t always need to follow the 5-7-5 syllable rule, like this haiku from 17th-century samurai poet Masahide: "Barn’s burnt down — / now / I can see the moon."

Definitions of haiku

n an epigrammatic Japanese verse form of three short lines

Type of:
poem, verse form
a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines

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