sonnet

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.”

Definitions of sonnet
  1. noun
    a verse form consisting of 14 lines with a fixed rhyme scheme
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    types:
    Italian sonnet, Petrarchan sonnet
    a sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba, followed by a sestet with the rhyme pattern cdecde or cdcdcd
    Elizabethan sonnet, English sonnet, Shakespearean sonnet
    a sonnet consisting three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab cdcd efef gg
    Spenserian sonnet
    a sonnet consisting of three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab bcbd cdcd ee
    type of:
    poem, verse form
    a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines
  2. verb
    compose a sonnet
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    type of:
    poetise, poetize, verse, versify
    compose verses or put into verse
  3. verb
    praise in a sonnet
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    type of:
    praise
    express approval of
Word Family