noun vi·gnette \ vin-ˈyet , vēn- \
|Updated on: 6 Aug 2018

Definition of vignette

1 a : a picture (such as an engraving or photograph) that shades off gradually into the surrounding paper
b : the pictorial part of a postage stamp design as distinguished from the frame and lettering
2 a : a short descriptive literary sketch
b : a brief incident or scene (as in a play or movie)
3 : a running ornament (as of vine leaves, tendrils, and grapes) put on or just before a title page or at the beginning or end of a chapter; also : a small decorative design or picture so placed


play \vin-ˈye-tist, vēn-\ noun

vignette was our Word of the Day on 02/21/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of vignette in a Sentence

  1. The play's program features a little vignette about each member of the cast.

  2. The film is a series of vignettes about living with cancer.

Recent Examples of vignette from the Web

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

The Connection Between vignette and Vines

Vignette comes from Middle French vignete, the diminutive form of the noun vigne, meaning "vine." In English, the word was first used in the mid-18th century for a design or illustration that ran along the blank border of a page, or one that marked the beginning or end of a chapter. Such designs got their name because they often looked like little vines. It wasn't until the late 19th century that usage of vignette had shifted to cover a brief literary sketch or narrative, as we commonly see it used today.

Origin and Etymology of vignette

French, from Middle French vignete, from diminutive of vigne vine — more at 1vine

Other Performing Arts Terms




Definition of vignette

vignetted; vignetting
1 : to finish (something, such as a photograph) like a vignette
2 : to describe briefly



First Known Use of vignette


in the meaning defined at sense 1

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VIGNETTE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of vignette for English Language Learners

  • : a short written description

  • : a short scene in a movie or play

  • : a picture or engraving in a book

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excessive admiration or flattery

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