[tur-sit, tur-set]


Prosody. a group of three lines rhyming together or connected by rhyme with the adjacent group or groups of three lines.

Origin of tercet

1590–1600; < French < Italian terzetto, diminutive of terzo third < Latin tertius. See -et
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tercet

Historical Examples of tercet

  • When there are two verses the stanza is called a couplet; a three line stanza is called a tercet; a four line stanza, a quatrain.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10

    Charles Herbert Sylvester

  • The common form of the sestina has six stanzas of six lines each, with a tercet at the end.

    English Verse

    Raymond MacDonald Alden, Ph.D.

British Dictionary definitions for tercet



a group of three lines of verse that rhyme together or are connected by rhyme with adjacent groups of three lines

Word Origin for tercet

C16: from French, from Italian terzetto, diminutive of terzo third, from Latin tertius
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 tercet

"three successive lines rhyming together," 1590s, from Italian terzetto, diminutive of terzo "third," from Latin tertius (see third). Spelling influenced by French tercet, from the Italian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper