Definition of sestina in US English:



  • A poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi.

    • ‘We might at first imagine it as the sestina's final cathartic pinnacle.’
    • ‘What about writing sonnets and sestinas and villanelles?’
    • ‘We'll be doing sestinas by the end of the week at this rate.’
    • ‘The book abounds with sonnets, villanelles, a pantoum, sonatinas (he is also a musician) and what in my opinion is the most difficult of forms, sestinas.’
    • ‘We don't get much form poetry, and we haven't had a sestina in at least four years.’


Mid 19th century: from Italian, from sesto (see sestet).