In poetry, a stanza is like a paragraph, and a quatrain is a stanza of exactly four lines, often with an alternating rhyme pattern.

Here’s a quatrain from the poem “Dreams” by Langston Hughes: “Hold fast to dreams / For when dreams go / Life is a barren field / Frozen with snow.” Most quatrains use alternating rhyme, like here with go and snow, and all quatrains have four lines, which explains why the French root of the word is quatre, meaning “four.” A quatrain can be one part of a long poem or an entire poem can be one quatrain — the choice is yours.

Definitions of quatrain
  1. noun
    a stanza of four lines
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    elegiac stanza
    a quatrain in iambic pentameter with abab rhyme scheme
    heroic stanza
    a quatrain consisting of two heroic couplets written in an elevated style; the rhyme scheme is abab
    type of:
    a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem
Word Family