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 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 In one vignette, easily the most disturbing, a sobbing man is seen cradling a dead girl in his arms, her shirt bloodied, a knife in his hand. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘About Endlessness’ Review: Brevity and Universality," 29 Apr. 2021 For her vignette at Thrift Studio, Taitt found inspiration in her memories of childhood summers spent in Barbados, where her family is from. Dallas News, "Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio Live returns to showcase North Texas designers of color," 20 Apr. 2021 But to some, the vignette was a reminder of what's left to achieve. Fortune, "The dual symbolism of Harris and Pelosi’s history-making night," 29 Apr. 2021 Courtesy of Etsy Brighten up a dining room tablescape or a living room vignette with these fun pastel candles. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Squiggly Decor Is the Funky Design Trend That Will Instantly Cheer Up Your Home," 31 Mar. 2021 Quarterbacks coach AJ Milwee, who came with Sarkisian from Alabama, provided insight into the coaching staff’s philosophy in a vignette tweeted out by Texas. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "Casey Thompson or Hudson Card? Don’t expect Steve Sarkisian to name Texas’ new starting QB anytime soon," 13 Apr. 2021 In one vignette, Lovato drinks wine at a bar and texts her dealer; in another scene, her dealer leaves her bedroom, and her assistant then discovers her unconscious. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Demi Lovato Recreates the Night of Her Overdose in Her New Music Video," 2 Apr. 2021 In Bailey’s opening vignette, Roth is attending the installation of a commemorative plaque at his childhood home in New Jersey, only a few days after the most recent snub from Sweden. Laura Marsh, The New Republic, "Philip Roth’s Revenge Fantasy," 22 Mar. 2021 Families would stay in their cars and drive through an elaborate series of stages, tunnels and tents, complete with an underwater vignette, a tiki hut and a lifeguard dunk tank. Washington Post, "Jeff Kinney’s six-foot pool skimmers and the evolution of pandemic-era children’s book author events," 2 Mar. 2021

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

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vignette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

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