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 This is just one of the vignettes that Ms. Glenconner offers about the haughty, aloof culture into which she was born. Alexandra Wolfe, WSJ, "A Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret Sticks Up for the Royals," 20 Mar. 2020 Fellini’s classic that is a series of comedic and nostalgic vignettes set in a 1930s Italian coastal town. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing Jan. 17-23," 16 Jan. 2020 Their story is retold as a series of vignettes in a minstrel show, the disgraceful American art form that pre-dated the Civil War and introduced the world to blackface. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "Kander and Ebb’s ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ at the Beck Center entrances as it weaves its story of savage racial injustice," 16 Feb. 2020 The poster is set up as a series of vignettes inside a French apartment building. Anne Cohen,, "Timothée Chalamet Is Naked In The Poster For The French Dispatch & People Are Losing It," 11 Feb. 2020 His new memoir, written as a series of vignettes, traces how migration has shaped his family life. Alejandro Lazo, WSJ, "In Poetry, an Immigrant Finds a Voice," 28 Jan. 2020 The forced feeling of these vignettes mirrors Dubai’s own. New York Times, "Three Movie Stars Head for Dubai but End Up in the Uncanny Valley," 15 Jan. 2020 The summits are cut sparingly with scenes from the Disney film in favor of vignettes from contemporary African life, dance practice and creative studio discussions. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, "What we learned from Beyoncé's surprise ‘Making the Gift’ documentary," 17 Sep. 2019 To combat this, the producers cleverly include some fun stop-motion segments to bring the Lego minutiae alive, but these brief vignettes are far and few between. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Lego Masters': TV Review," 4 Feb. 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.

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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

1 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vignette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Apr. 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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