Meaning 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The poems being compared are sonnets, and this formal choice deserves attention.’
    • ‘And unlike the elegies the sonnets are predominantly poems of invocation, apostrophe and direct address, he writes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What about writing sonnets and sestinas and villanelles?’
    • ‘Concealed inside its villanelles, ghazals, canzones, sonnets, and prose poems are that country's unheard voices.’
    • ‘We are still writing sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, even pantoums and triolets, ballades and rondels, as well as inventing ‘nonce’ forms to suit our uses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are varied poetic forms, including narratives, jazz poems, slam poems, sestina, haiku, couplets and sonnets.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These lines are in fact the final couplets from five sonnets in Benson's 1640 edition of Shakespeare's poems.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Although it does not fit the metrical requirements of a sonnet, Herrick's song follows a metrical pattern and rhyme scheme.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her work ranges from poems of fantasy and verses for the young to ballads, love lyrics, sonnets, and religious poetry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Smith's innovation in the Elegiac Sonnets derives from the ways in which the formal traditions of sonnet and elegy converge.’
    • ‘Another Milton scholar present announced that while rhyme was no ornament to verse, the return of odes and sonnets was inevitable.’
    • ‘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.’
    poem, piece of poetry, lyric, sonnet, ode, limerick, rhyme, composition, metrical composition, piece of doggerel

verbsonnets, sonneting, sonneted

[no object]
  • 1archaic Compose 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’.