A sonnet is a poem, often a love poem, of 14 rhyming lines. Is that a love letter from your secret admirer or a formal sonnet?
The word sonnet comes from the Italian sonetto, meaning “little song.” The origin makes sense, since the first sonnets were developed by the Italian poet Petrarch. But the sonnet form we are most familiar with today is Shakespearean. Many of the most often quoted lines in poetry come from Shakespeare’s sonnets, such as this ending couplet from Sonnet 18, “So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”