no·​vel·​la | \ nō-ˈve-lə How to pronounce novella (audio) \
plural novellas or novelle\ nō-​ˈve-​lē How to pronounce novelle (audio) \

Definition of novella

1 plural novelle : a story with a compact and pointed plot
2 plural novellas : a work of fiction intermediate in length and complexity between a short story and a novel

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of novella in a Sentence

pressed for time, many English teachers have their students read the one novella among the novelist's works
Recent Examples on the Web Co-produced by Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions, the film is adapted from a 2017 German novella of the same name by bestselling author Daniel Kehlman. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Nothing is what it seems in taut and twisty horror film You Should Have Left," 20 June 2020 The film is adapted from a 2017 German novella of the same name by bestselling author Daniel Kehlman. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Kevin Bacon is a writer with a dark secret in You Should Have Left trailer," 8 June 2020 Director Clive Barker released the first Hellraiser movie in 1987 based on his own novella The Hellbound Heart. Nick Romano,, "Hellraiser HBO series to raise hell with Halloween director," 27 Apr. 2020 McGlue, the title character of her 2014 novella, is a drunk sailor, imprisoned for killing his best friend. Lauren Christensen, New York Times, "Ottessa Moshfegh Is Only Human," 16 Apr. 2020 Hellraiser was written and directed by Clive Barker, adapting his own novella, The Hellbound Heart. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Spyglass' 'Hellraiser' Reboot Finds Its Writing/Directing Team (Exclusive)," 10 Apr. 2020 The film is set to hit theaters on Jan. 24, but viewers can rest easy knowing that it's based on a classic novella, rather than a real ghost story. Sabienna Bowman,, "There’s Some Spooky Literary History Behind The Turning," 23 Jan. 2020 Benjamin Britten’s 1973 Death in Venice, based on the Thomas Mann novella, was the composer’s last opera, and a brilliant, if disturbing, summation of themes traced through the arc of his output. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Set in a gathering epidemic, Britten’s ‘Death in Venice’ is newly timely," 15 Apr. 2020 So begins Michael Hofmann’s marvelous new translation of Heinrich von Kleist’s novella Michael Kohlhaas, first published in 1810. Christine Smallwood, Harper's Magazine, "Through Clenched Teeth," 30 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'novella.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of novella

1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for novella

borrowed from Italian, "piece of news, announcement, story, narrative," noun derivative from feminine of novello "new," going back to Latin novellus "young, tender (of plants or animals)," from novus "new" + -ellus, diminutive suffix — more at new entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about novella

Time Traveler for novella

Time Traveler

The first known use of novella was in 1677

See more words from the same year

Statistics for novella

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Novella.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for novella


How to pronounce novella (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of novella

: a short novel : a story that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on novella

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for novella

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with novella

Britannica English: Translation of novella for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about novella

Comments on novella

What made you want to look up novella? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!