Definition of quatrain in English:



  • A stanza of four lines, especially one having alternate rhymes.

    • ‘The play is written in verse which varies between alternately rhyming quatrains and stanzaic form, the effect being lyric rather than dramatic.’
    • ‘The source texts are then reformed into single aphoristic lines, couplets, quatrains, and whole poems.’
    • ‘By the time he has finished the first stanza, this is the form he seems to have chosen: a three-stress-per-line stanza of four lines, a quatrain in which the second and fourth lines rhyme.’
    • ‘Presumably to save space, verse is cited in two parallel columns, read across rather than down, with the effect that ‘The Character of a Happy Life’ appears at first glance to be written in obscure couplets rather than limpid quatrains.’
    • ‘The reply and counter-reply must be given in the form of a quatrain with a rhyme scheme of a-b-c-b.’
    • ‘To analyze a sonnet into quatrains and tercets is to recognize it as a sonnet, and so to relate it to a conventional lyrical category.’
    • ‘We hear iambs, trochees, Virgil's hexameters, the Norse alliterative lines, each arranged in their various couplets, quatrains, choric stanzas, gnomic verses, and much more besides.’
    • ‘Ballads are most often first-person narratives told in rhyming quatrains of Hiberno-English, and dealing with matters such as love and war.’
    • ‘Valery subtly suggests the progression of evening in the language of the second quatrain's closing lines.’
    • ‘The hymn stanza grew out of the ballad stanza: four beats, three beats, four beats, three beats in alternating isochronous lines of varying numbers of syllables locked in a rhyming quatrain.’
    • ‘As well as writing in free verse, his poems are often structured in two or three-line stanzas or quatrains, frequently, although not always, with a rhyme scheme.’
    • ‘Smith's ‘illegitimate’ sonnet consists of three elegiac quatrains and a couplet, thus combining both English elegiac meters.’
    • ‘His earlier work tends to be written in traditional rhymed quatrains but, as he matured, he dropped the rhymes and worked in a freer but still basically alexandrine movement.’
    • ‘Narrative folk ballads of Mexican origin typically have regular metrical features such as rhyming quatrains and use traditional imagery.’
    • ‘Imagine hearing the lines of the second quatrain as a series of introductions.’
    • ‘Jaques's assertion of the presence of the object world as a link to the past and a means to achieve wholeness in the present is echoed in her conventional poetics, dominated by her preference for rhyming couplets and quatrains.’
    • ‘Also of note formally are a few poems with blippy little quatrains of one to two words per line, one of which is the frolicsome ‘Leopard Spirit Society’.’
    • ‘O'Hara has divided the poem into four unrhymed quatrains, with each of first three consisting of one self-contained sentence.’
    • ‘I curled up with Nash's couplets, quatrains, limericks and occasional jeremiads.’
    • ‘The pantoum is a Malay verse form consisting of an indefinite number of quatrains with the second and fourth lines of each quatrain repeated as the first and third lines of the following one.’


Late 16th century: from French, from quatre ‘four’.