[ poh-et-iks ]
/ poʊˈɛt ɪks /

noun (used with a singular verb)

literary criticism treating of the nature and laws of poetry.
the study of prosody.
a treatise on poetry.
(initial capital letter, italics) a treatise or collection of notes on aesthetics (4th century b.c.) by Aristotle.

Origin of poetics

First recorded in 1720–30; see origin at poetic, -ics

Definition for poetics (2 of 2)


[ poh-et-ik ]
/ poʊˈɛt ɪk /

adjective Also po·et·i·cal.


Origin of poetic

1520–30; < Latin poēticus < Greek poiētikós. See poet, -ic
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for poetics

British Dictionary definitions for poetics (1 of 2)


/ (pəʊˈɛtɪks) /

noun (usually functioning as singular)

the principles and forms of poetry or the study of these, esp as a form of literary criticism
a treatise on poetry

British Dictionary definitions for poetics (2 of 2)



/ (pəʊˈɛtɪk) /


of or relating to poetry
characteristic of poetry, as in being elevated, sublime, etc
characteristic of a poet
recounted in verse
Derived Formspoetically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for poetics



1520s, from poet + -ic, or else from or influenced by Middle French poetique (c.1400), from Latin poeticus, from Greek poietikos "pertaining to poetry," literally "creative, productive," from poietos "made," verbal adjective of poiein "to make" (see poet). Related: Poetics (1727). Poetic justice "ideal justice as portrayed in plays and stories" is from 1670s. Poetic license attested by 1733.

Earlier adjective was poetical (late 14c.); also obsolete poetly (mid-15c.). Related: Poetically (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper