vi·​gnette | \ vin-ˈyet How to pronounce vignette (audio) , vēn- \

Definition of vignette

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2a : 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


vignetted; vignetting

Definition of vignette (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

Other Words from vignette


vignettist \ vin-​ˈye-​tist How to pronounce vignette (audio) , vēn-​ \ noun


vignetter noun

The Connection Between Vignette and Vines

Vignette comes from the Middle French noun vigne, meaning "vine." In English, the word was first used in the early 17th 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 vignette began being used for a brief literary sketch or narrative.

Examples of vignette in a Sentence

Noun The play's program features a little vignette about each member of the cast. The film is a series of vignettes about living with cancer.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Speaking of which, this week’s vignette featured references to famed Edge rivals Randy Orton and John Cena. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, 19 July 2022 In this way, Stuart ends the novel with another stark, Freudian vignette. Claire Jarvis, The Atlantic, 12 July 2022 Like most Drake songs, this small vignette would make for excellent Instagram captions and/or tweets. Richy Rosario, Billboard, 27 June 2022 This brief vignette almost passes for business as usual, even a quiet show of honor on McConnell’s part. George Packer, The Atlantic, 18 May 2022 The 8:42-long video is a surrealist feast that puts Swardlick’s longtime mascot, Morne Diablotins, in a funky dream sequence — each stylish vignette soundtracked to another snippet from the companion Compact Objects LP, released June 7. Kat Bein, Billboard, 9 June 2022 Kaphar’s film is a rather quiet vignette, mostly filmed inside his gallery, where large oil canvases show Black mothers with cutout children—blank space where a child should be. The New Yorker, 8 May 2022 In one vignette, the woman dreams of being a cat, then, as a cat, dreams of being a woman. Zoë Hu, The Atlantic, 23 Mar. 2022 Like so many moments in Adlon’s free-form FX dramedy, the vignette is sad and funny, blunt and tender all at once. Judy Berman, Time, 28 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of vignette


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1853, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vignette


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

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The first known use of vignette was in 1611

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vignette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on vignette

Nglish: Translation of vignette for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vignette for Arabic Speakers


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