Definition of mise en abyme in English:

mise en abyme

(also mise-en-abîme, mis-en-abîme)

Pronunciation /ˌmiːz ɒn aˈbɪːm/ /ˌmiːz ɒn əˈbɪːm/


  • (A term denoting) self-reflection within the structure of a literary work; a work employing self-reflection.


1960s; earliest use found in Yale French Studies. From French mise en abyme from mise + en into + abyme, variant of abîme, after mettre en abyme, in which abyme is used in the specifically heraldic sense of the centre of an escutcheon.