vil·​la·​nelle | \ ˌvi-lə-ˈnel How to pronounce villanelle (audio) \

Definition of villanelle

: a chiefly French verse form running on two rhymes and consisting typically of five tercets and a quatrain in which the first and third lines of the opening tercet recur alternately at the end of the other tercets and together as the last two lines of the quatrain

Examples of villanelle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Susan Kinsolving’s villanelle obsessively circles the same two rhymes, keeping pace with the anxiety of a mind trying to cope. Clare Bucknell, The New Yorker, 22 Dec. 2020 Her own verse often drew on classical forms such as the villanelle, sestina, tritina and sonnet, and sometimes incorporated references to ancient mythology and medieval legend. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, 8 July 2019 But then, rarely does an individual strip contain a complete and proper villanelle about food. Wired Blogs, WIRED, 22 Sep. 2006

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'villanelle.' 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 villanelle

1877, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for villanelle

French, from Italian villanella

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The first known use of villanelle was in 1877

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Cite this Entry

“Villanelle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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