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Sonnet Definition

A Sonnet is a type of poem in which the structure is very specific, following a clear rhyme scheme that flowed through fourteen lines. There have been many different forms of the sonnet, generally speaking, throughout the centuries passed; However, many "sonneteers" (as they are often known) claim that the basis of a sonnet in poetry has indeed evolved throughout this time.

The word 'sonnet' is derivative from the Italian word 'sonnetto', which loosely translates into many different meanings, specifically a little poem, song, or sound. The sonnet was also created in Italy by Giacomo da Lentini, who headed the Sicilian School in Tuscany in the late 1200s. Back during that time period, many of the sonnets that were written were meant to portray the means of an argument; However, as time has gone on, we have seen the structural aspects of sonnets as well as themes take varying turns and changes. Sonnets have been written and published all throughout the world -- By the English, Russians, Dutch, Germans, to name a few -- and continues to be popular still today in the 21st century. 

Lyric poems that are 14 lines that usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes.

Sonnet Poem Example

Into My Own
by Robert Frost

ONE of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day 5
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track 10
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew—
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

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Other Sonnet Definition

[n] a verse form consisting of 14 lines with a fixed rhyme scheme
[v] compose a sonnet
[v] praise in a sonnet

Misc. Definitions

\Son"net\, n. [F., fr. It. sonetto, fr. suono a sound, a song, fr. L. sonus a sound. See {Sound} noise.]
1. A short poem, -- usually amatory. [Obs.] --Shak. He had a wonderful desire to chant a sonnet or hymn unto Apollo Pythius. --Holland.
2. A poem of fourteen lines, -- two stanzas, called the octave, being of four verses each, and two stanzas, called the sestet, of three verses each, the rhymes being adjusted by a particular rule. Note: In the proper sonnet each line has five accents, and the octave has but two rhymes, the second, third, sixth, and seventh lines being of one thyme, and the first, fourth, fifth, and eighth being of another. In the sestet there are sometimes two and sometimes three rhymes; but in some way its two stazas rhyme together. Often the three lines of the first stanza rhyme severally with the three lines of the second. In Shakespeare's sonnets, the first twelve lines rhymed alternately, and the last two rhyme together.
\Son"net\, v. i. To compose sonnets. ``Strains that come almost to sonneting.'' --Milton.

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