\ˈvərs \

Definition of verse 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a line of metrical writing

2a(1) : metrical language

(2) : metrical writing distinguished from poetry especially by its lower level of intensity

(3) : poetry sense 2

b : poem

c : a body of metrical writing (as of a period or country)

4 : one of the short divisions into which a chapter of the Bible is traditionally divided


verb (1)
versed; versing

Definition of verse (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to make verse : versify

transitive verb

1 : to tell or celebrate in verse

2 : to turn into verse


verb (2)
versed; versing

Definition of verse (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to familiarize by close association, study, or experience well versed in the theater

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Synonyms for verse

Synonyms: Noun

lyric, poem, rune, song

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Examples of verse in a Sentence


The epic tale was written in verse. The second verse is sung the same way as the first.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Almost immediately, responses began pouring in from women across the Twitter-verse with their own difficult breastfeeding stories to share. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "Khloé Kardashian Opened Up About the Breastfeeding Problem No One Talks About—and Women Are Thanking Her," 20 Nov. 2018 Levine hit his buzzer within the first few seconds of the performance, causing his red chair to spin around before the 33-year-old even finished her first verse. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "'The Voice' Fans Are Not Happy With Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson After Last Night's Show," 9 Oct. 2018 Jail Guitar Doors was named after a 1978 song by the Clash, the first verse of which details Wayne Kramer’s drug bust. Tony Fletcher, WSJ, "‘The Hard Stuff’ Review: Motor City Mayhem," 10 Aug. 2018 Hope, as reinforced by the multiple Bible verses that have continually emerged for Corrie, consoles and supplies confidence to their faith. Keith Huffman, The Seattle Times, "After tragedy, family embraces ‘hope’ in mourning 3-year-old," 18 Jan. 2018 And that's all before any of Allen's verses on the song kick in. Brennan Carley, GQ, "On No Shame, Lily Allen Is Writing Her Own Headlines," 17 May 2018 Many Muslims also attend special prayer services, read verses of the Quran and engage in charity. Kamakshi Ayyar, Time, "Your Complete Guide to Ramadan, Including the Proper Greeting and When It Starts," 15 May 2018 State senators voted to keep the third verse of the song and add words from a 1894 poem by Western Maryland teacher James T. White. Doug Donovan,, "The debate over Maryland's state song is a familiar refrain," 15 Mar. 2018 Docents are helpful in navigating some of the rooms, as well as explaining their original purpose: The internal gate, decorated with verses from the Quran, leads to rooms used for international delegations. Laura Ratliff, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Day Trips from Dubai," 4 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Everyone deserves the right to respond to allegations, but Argento, one of the most prominent spokespeople for the #MeToo movement, should be well-versed in the potential impact of such responses. Anna North, Vox, "Asia Argento’s response to sexual assault allegations is hugely troubling. #MeToo survivors deserve better.," 22 Aug. 2018 Photo: Reuters Amazon wants more software engineers who are well-versed in the coding languages Microsoft C# and Java. Lauren Weber, WSJ, "Amazon, Google Poised for Race to Hire High-Tech Talent," 13 Nov. 2018 Polish for a Purpose As a kid, Wall was well-versed in giving back. Macaela Mackenzie, Marie Claire, "When You're Sick, a Manicure Becomes a Link to Life Before the Hospital," 4 Sep. 2018 As Jeff Merkley's experience with Tom Coburn attests, frontline health care workers are usually well-versed in the benefits of breastfeeding. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Women Really Quit Breastfeeding," 17 July 2018 Since her novels began arriving, each has been a dive into bookish homes of thoughtful artists, teachers and librarians, better versed in fine than pop arts. Christopher Borrelli,, "Rebecca Makkai, author of Chicago-set 'The Great Believers,' knows the value of diligence," 20 June 2018 Trump can expect Kim to be well informed and well versed in his talking points. Eric Talmadge, Fox News, "Analysis: Tactics Kim may use in US-North Korea summit," 10 June 2018 Inner Loop Reserve 101 The downtown bar offers more than 100 whiskeys, and the bartenders are well versed in the traits and histories of every bottle. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Cocktail and wine bars aplenty in the Houston area," 10 May 2018 The Senate obviously turned to a steady hand and somebody who is well-versed on the budget and most major issues. Michael Levenson,, "Spilka has focused on troubled children, families throughout career," 26 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of verse


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Verb (2)

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for verse


Middle English vers, fers, in part borrowed from Anglo-French vers, verse in part going back to Old English fers, both borrowed from Latin versus "furrow, measure of land, row, line, line of writing, line of metrical writing," action noun derived from vertere "to cause to turn, rotate," — more at worth entry 1

Verb (1)

Middle English versen, in part verbal derivative of vers, fers verse entry 1 in part going back to Old English fersian "to versify," verbal derivative of fers verse entry 1

Verb (2)

back-formation from versed, partial translation of Latin versātus, past participle of versārī "to come and go, be involved, concern oneself," passive (in middle sense) of versāre "to keep turning" — more at versant

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Statistics for verse

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for verse

The first known use of verse was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for verse



English Language Learners Definition of verse

: writing in which words are arranged in a rhythmic pattern

: a part of a poem or song

: one of the parts of a chapter of the Bible


\ˈvərs \

Kids Definition of verse

1 : a portion of a poem or song : stanza

2 : writing in which words are arranged in a rhythmic pattern

3 : one of the short parts of a chapter in the Bible

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More from Merriam-Webster on verse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with verse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for verse

Spanish Central: Translation of verse

Nglish: Translation of verse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of verse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on verse

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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