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

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Other Words from vignette


vignettist \ vin-​ˈye-​tist How to pronounce vignettist (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 Most notable will be the inclusion of a vignette depicting Snow White waking up from her deep sleep in a forest and a new ending showing the heroine reuniting with her animal friends while a castle shimmers in the distance. Joey Nolfi,, "Disney reveals major changes coming to classic Snow White ride," 28 Nov. 2019 Sleeveless starts with a diaristic account of New York, followed by a vignette in the third person, then a chunk of essays. Zoë Hu, The New Republic, "Natasha Stagg Has No Illusions," 28 Oct. 2019 Weaving together vignettes from the sisters' adult lives and their shared childhood, lending scenes of youth a distinctly warm glow, Gerwig's Little Women is a celebration and a eulogy in one. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch in Theaters Over Christmas," 23 Dec. 2019 The earliest photos here, dating from 1969 into the 1970s, are black-and-white vignettes from Manhattan streets (mostly in Harlem) and clubs. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: ‘Time Capsule’ retrospective highlights jazz’s influence on Frank Stewart," 20 Dec. 2019 There’s no plot, exactly, just vignettes highlighting the haplessness of Charlie Brown, the zaniness of Snoopy, the crabbiness of Lucy, etc. Matthew J. Palm,, "A great production for good ol’ Charlie Brown | Review," 6 Dec. 2019 Gone were the grand protestations against hate and bigotry, now replaced with quieter, more intimate vignettes into his deep love for his boyfriend, Alan. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best LGBTQ Albums of the 2010s: Staff Picks," 22 Nov. 2019 An ice skating vignette adorns this centerpiece sponsored by PSJ Orthodontics at the 14th annual Holiday of Trees at NWSB Bank in Taneytown Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Carroll County Times Staff,, "Voting begins for Holiday of Trees, Wreaths and Centerpieces in Taneytown," 20 Nov. 2019 Families can also enjoy carnival rides, fall vignette photo opportunities, a pumpkin decorating tent, cornstalk maze and more. Jennifer Boehm,, "What to do with the kids this weekend: pumpkins, mermaids, trick-or-treating and more," 22 Oct. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for vignette

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The first known use of vignette was in 1611

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vignette.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for vignette


How to pronounce vignette (audio)

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

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Comments on vignette

What made you want to look up vignette? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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