Definition of sonnet in English:



  • A poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically having ten syllables per line.

    • ‘Her work ranges from poems of fantasy and verses for the young to ballads, love lyrics, sonnets, and religious poetry.’
    • ‘The poems being compared are sonnets, and this formal choice deserves attention.’
    • ‘Although it does not fit the metrical requirements of a sonnet, Herrick's song follows a metrical pattern and rhyme scheme.’
    • ‘It's not just any kind of poetry, but strictly traditional poetic forms like sonnets and sestinas - the kind that rhymes and has a formal meter.’
    • ‘Smith's innovation in the Elegiac Sonnets derives from the ways in which the formal traditions of sonnet and elegy converge.’
    • ‘Concealed inside its villanelles, ghazals, canzones, sonnets, and prose poems are that country's unheard voices.’
    • ‘What about writing sonnets and sestinas and villanelles?’
    • ‘These lines are in fact the final couplets from five sonnets in Benson's 1640 edition of Shakespeare's poems.’
    • ‘There are varied poetic forms, including narratives, jazz poems, slam poems, sestina, haiku, couplets and sonnets.’
    • ‘Because the sonnet's formal structure was so well defined, its popularity as a form risked obscuring the boundary between true art and simple workmanship.’
    • ‘We are still writing sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, even pantoums and triolets, ballades and rondels, as well as inventing ‘nonce’ forms to suit our uses.’
    • ‘And unlike the elegies the sonnets are predominantly poems of invocation, apostrophe and direct address, he writes.’
    • ‘The forms I choose for my poems can be found in contemporary American poetry: prose poems, free verse, couplets, sonnets, found texts, and direct narratives.’
    • ‘Fascinated throughout his career by venerable poetic fixed forms such as the sonnet, the triolet, and the Malayan pantoum, Jouet chose to invent a new fixed form.’
    • ‘The biography then turns to extra-familial influences, including Surrey's friendship with Henry Fitzroy, the Earl of Richmond, for whom he would invent the English sonnet in his Windsor elegies.’
    • ‘Cook's first collection presents a series of experiments with formal structures; standard sonnets, quatrains, and the more recently standard haiku and ghazal as well.’
    • ‘Another Milton scholar present announced that while rhyme was no ornament to verse, the return of odes and sonnets was inevitable.’
    • ‘Why else would Robert Lowell, for example, spend the best part of his last ten years on earth stuffing everything into a fourteen-line loose approximation of a sonnet, lines whose randomness save him from dullness?’
    • ‘Wroth highlights and intensifies the complex, highly-structured nature of the corona by composing it of fourteen sonnets, mirroring the fourteen lines of the sonnet itself.’
    • ‘Most of the poems employ the forms of the sonnet, rhymed couplets, and ballad stanzas, and most were composed while Cullen was an undergraduate at New York University.’
    poem, piece of poetry, lyric, ode, limerick, rhyme, composition, metrical composition, piece of doggerel
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[no object]archaic
  • 1Compose sonnets.

    ‘and in delightful Tones sit sonneting’
    • ‘And in delightful tones sit sonneting: Who when they mention you in their sweet lays, May th' angler eccho your deserved praise.’
    1. 1.1with object Celebrate in a sonnet.
      ‘he sonneted his hostess now’
      • ‘Like Petrarch, he sonnetted his mistress, both before and after death.’


Mid 16th century: from French, or from Italian sonetto, diminutive of suono ‘a sound’.