son·​net ˈsä-nət How to pronounce sonnet (audio)
: a fixed verse form of Italian origin consisting of 14 lines that are typically 5-foot iambics rhyming according to a prescribed scheme
also : a poem in this pattern

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Paisley Rekdal’s poems are often struck with intellect, and this one is no different — in the second part of the poem during the volta, or the turn in a sonnet, the skulls are animated with their own opinions. New York Times, 14 July 2022 Like many formal poems such as the sonnet, the ghazal, with its restrictions, can paradoxically illuminate and parse difficult emotions. New York Times, 7 July 2022 The star has long held a penchant for crafting tweets that read like lines from a sonnet. André-naquian Wheeler, Vogue, 11 July 2022 This 14-line pseudo-sonnet roughly follows the structure of a Petrarchan sonnet with its octave (first eight lines) stating a tension and the sestet (final six lines) including a volta (or turn). New York Times, 5 May 2022 The poem can be in any form — sonnet, haiku, limerick or whatever — but must not be longer than 100 words. Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2022 While other basic forms of poetry, such as the sonnet, ode and haiku, are borrowed from other countries, the limerick is an original English creation and the most quoted of all verse forms in our language. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Dec. 2021 There were Russian balalaika groups, political advertisers, choral singers, and on a recent Sunday, a spoken-word Shakespeare sonnet. Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2021 And a bonus shout-out for this beautiful sonnet to Chinatown’s new generation of culinary riches by Tejal Rao in the NYT. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 19 June 2021 See More

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

Word History


Italian sonetto, from Old Occitan sonet little song, from son sound, song, from Latin sonus sound

First Known Use

circa 1555, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sonnet was circa 1555

Dictionary Entries Near sonnet

Cite this Entry

“Sonnet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



son·​net ˈsän-ət How to pronounce sonnet (audio)
: a poem of 14 lines usually rhyming by a fixed scheme

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