ses·​ti·​na se-ˈstē-nə How to pronounce sestina (audio)
: a lyrical fixed form consisting of six 6-line usually unrhymed stanzas in which the end words of the first stanza recur as end words of the following five stanzas in a successively rotating order and as the middle and end words of the three verses of the concluding tercet

Examples of sestina in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Well, Laura likes to say that what ChatGPT is actually good at is making sestinas. The Politics Of Everything, The New Republic, 10 May 2023 Her own verse often drew on classical forms such as the villanelle, sestina, tritina and sonnet, and sometimes incorporated references to ancient mythology and medieval legend. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, 8 July 2019 Many poems simply yoke together disparate elements, and some have no relation to collage at all (despite Polizzotti’s fanciful suggestion that a sestina’s repetitive pattern of line endings sort of counts). Michael Robbins,, 9 May 2018

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

Word History


Italian, from sesto sixth

First Known Use

circa 1586, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sestina was circa 1586

Dictionary Entries Near sestina

Cite this Entry

“Sestina.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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