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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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.

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 This is equally true in the books, with each chapter being a sort of vignette. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 6 June 2021 Rooms are filled with art and furniture to create a scene, an ambience, a vignette. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, 16 Apr. 2021 In a literary landscape that still privileges the rather grandiose notion of the Great American Novel, to describe a piece of writing as a sketch or a vignette or a slice of life can come across as damning with faint praise. Jim Heynen, Star Tribune, 9 Apr. 2021 No need to buy matching planters for kitchen herbs and houseplants—just group neutral pots and add antique accents (like this vintage wood trivet) for an uncomplicated windowsill or countertop vignette. Chelsea Evers, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Apr. 2021 Out of context, the vignette could've played out in any episode, any season of the comedy streaming on Crave. Jean Bentley,, 11 May 2021 Each stand-alone vignette in his features over the last two decades evolved from impressions that kindled an emotion within him. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2021 The stoned attention span perfectly matches the length of each vignette, in which Attenborough’s soothing, avuncular voice guides you through a simple story about animal life. Emma Marris, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2021 As the reader moves through each vignette, the progression of the day is reflected in the article’s visual presentation. Monica Racic, The New Yorker, 29 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About vignette

Time Traveler for vignette

Time Traveler

The first known use of vignette was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About vignette

Statistics for vignette

Last Updated

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vignette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vignette



English Language Learners Definition of vignette

: a short written description
: a short scene in a movie or play
: a picture or engraving in a book


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!