Definition of rondeau in English:



  • A thirteen-line poem, divided into three stanzas of 5, 3, and 5 lines, with only two rhymes throughout and with the opening words of the first line used as a refrain at the end of the second and third stanzas.

    • ‘The refrain of his rondeau is ‘drop the saxophone, Danton, and get on with the show.’’
    • ‘Their fourth exercise/poem was their choice of a form using repetition or refrain: a villanelle, rondeaux, traditional ghazal, glosa, sestina or pantoum.’
    • ‘It may be that the most difficult poetic form isn't the sestina or the rondeau redoublé but a modernist, free-verse form commonly known as the ‘skinny’ poem: three-, two-, and often one-word lines expose the poet's every gesture.’


Early 16th century: French, later form of rondel (see rondel).