free verse


: verse whose meter is irregular in some respect or whose rhythm is not metrical

Examples of free verse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Taking its title from a Toni Morrison quote, Water Made Us employs free verse, voice memos from family and friends, and sterling arrangements crafted with L.A. producer McClenney to examine her past relationships. Ew Staff,, 25 Sep. 2023 Rhyming poems, like Reed’s, have fallen out of style this century in favor of free verse. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 3 Feb. 2024 Like family feuds, squabbles among poets are too tedious to recount, but Wiman remembers being accused of commissioning too much prose, of privileging formalism over free verse, and of publishing vicious reviews and vacuous poetry. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 4 Dec. 2023 The book, first published in 1927, is organized according to the calendar, with a passage of free verse that evokes the qualities and pleasures of each month, a small monochrome drawing nearby, and, on the facing page, a full-color illustration of the sort to draw fascinated attention. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 16 Nov. 2023 His sentences come out as free verse, a sort of Rust Belt beat poetry. Popular Mechanics, 14 Apr. 2023 In The Letters of Thom Gunn, a new, behemoth collection of private correspondence across six decades, Gunn grapples with his states of in-betweenness: between being English and American; between writing free verse and formal verse; between exercising emotion and rationality. Jeremy Lybarger, The New Republic, 17 June 2022 You will not be tortured at night by the question of why X., who writes free verse, gets published, while you, who rhyme relentlessly while counting syllables on both hands, don’t even merit rejections. Wisława Szymborska, The New York Review of Books, 3 Aug. 2021 Indeed, much of Dose’s best work has been free verse—rooted in hip-hop, but not stuck in it. Spin Staff, SPIN, 31 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'free verse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1813, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of free verse was in 1813

Dictionary Entries Near free verse

Cite this Entry

“Free verse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

free verse

: poetry that does not rhyme and does not have a regular rhythm

More from Merriam-Webster on free verse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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