haiku

noun

hai·​ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü How to pronounce haiku (audio)
plural haiku or haikus
: an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having in English three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively
… with the declaration of war, I was not sure what the coming spring portended. So two weeks after Pearl Harbor, I wrote in haiku: Beyond mind's torment, / Reach out and grasp a sprig of / The flowering quince.Toyo Suyemoto
also : a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference
I translate haiku in one line because most Japanese haiku writers, both standard and nonstandard, treat it as a one-line form and adjust its prosody accordingly. … It has long been a tradition to present haiku in non-Japanese languages as tercetsHiroaki Sato
[Tonya Foster] does not write fully traditional haiku (free-standing, improvisational, about the seasons). Stephanie Burt
Jacob Harris, senior software architect at The New York Times, has developed an algorithm to find accidental haikus in the paper, from the mundane: "The one thing to be / careful about is trimming / the broccoli rabe," to the poetic: "The buzzing of a / thousand bees in the tiny / curled pearl of an ear." Annalisa Quinn
compare tanka

Note: A haiku is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form that in English usually consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. A haiku expresses much and suggests more in just a few words. The form first emerged in Japanese literature in the 17th century (though it did not become known by the name haiku until the 19th century) when Bashō, a Japanese poet considered by many to be the greatest practitioner of the form, elevated it to a highly refined art. A poem written in the haiku form or a modification of it in a language other than Japanese is also called a haiku. The Imagist poets of the early 20th century helped popularize the form in English.

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A haiku is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form that consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. A haiku expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible words. The form gained distinction in the 17th century, when Basho, a Japanese poet considered the greatest practitioner of the form, elevated it to a highly refined art. It remains Japan’s most popular poetic form. The Imagist poets (1912–30) and others have imitated the form in English and other languages.

Examples of haiku in a Sentence

He has written many beautiful haiku.
Recent Examples on the Web The Bye-Ku. Market toys with price And diners again enjoy A true happy meal *** Have your own newsy haiku? Drew Goins, Washington Post, 15 July 2024 Before long, a mentor relationship develops between the restaurant’s alternatingly stern and gregarious proprietor and his unlikely new employee, who drops out of school to immerse himself in Japanese culture, from learning the language to cooking the food and even writing haikus. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2024 Watch on Netflix Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop Cherry struggles with speaking to other people, preferring to share his feelings through haiku. Matt Kamen, WIRED, 6 July 2024 Already long hike In expanding universe — Pack extra trail mix *** Have your own newsy haiku? Drew Goins, Washington Post, 2 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for haiku 

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

Word History

Etymology

Japanese

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of haiku was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near haiku

Cite this Entry

“Haiku.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haiku. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

haiku

noun
hai·​ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü How to pronounce haiku (audio)
plural haiku
: a verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables respectively
also : a poem written in this form

More from Merriam-Webster on haiku

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