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See more synonyms for villanelle on Thesaurus.com
noun Prosody.
  1. a short poem of fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all being based on two rhymes.
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Origin of villanelle

1580–90; < French < Italian; see villanella, -elle


[vil-uh-nel-uh; Italian veel-lah-nel-lah]
noun, plural vil·la·nel·le [vil-uh-nel-ee; Italian veel-lah-nel-le] /ˌvɪl əˈnɛl i; Italian ˌvil lɑˈnɛl lɛ/.
  1. a rustic Italian part song without accompaniment.
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Origin of villanella

1590–1600; < Italian, feminine of villanello rural, rustic, equivalent to villan(o) peasant, boor (see villain) + -ello -ish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for villanelle

Historical Examples

  • This he followed by English versions of the rondel, rondeau and villanelle.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 5


  • The villanelle J'ai perdu ma tourterelle and the ode on May-day show Passerat's art in its happiest moments.

  • Lastly, the villanelle alternates one of two refrain lines at the end of each three-lined stanza.

  • Here, as in the villanelle, a change of signification in the repeated lines is thought to add to the charm of the form.

    English Verse

    Raymond MacDonald Alden, Ph.D.

  • The Villanelle has been called "the most ravishing jewel worn by the Muse Erato."

British Dictionary definitions for villanelle


  1. a verse form of French origin consisting of 19 lines arranged in five tercets and a quatrain. The first and third lines of the first tercet recur alternately at the end of each subsequent tercet and both together at the end of the quatrain
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Word Origin

C16: from French, from Italian villanella


noun plural -las
  1. a type of part song originating in Naples during the 16th century
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Word Origin

C16: from Italian, from villano rustic, from Late Latin vīllānus; see villain
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 villanelle


1580s, from French villanelle, from Italian villanella "ballad, rural song," from fem. of villanello "rustic," from Medieval Latin villanus (see villain). As a poetic form, five 3-lined stanzas and a final quatrain, with only two rhymes throughout, usually of pastoral or lyric nature.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper