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Triolet Definition

A French verse form. Its rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB and all lines are in iambic tetrameter; the first, fourth and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines, thereby making the initial and final couplets identical as well. The features of the Triolet are: 8 lines. Two rhymes. 5 of the 8 lines are repeated or refrain lines. First line repeats at the 4th and 7th lines. Second line repeats at the 8th line. Rhyme scheme (where an upper-case letter indicates the appearance of an identical line, while a lower-case letter indicates a rhyme with each line designated by the same lower-case or upper-case letter)


A Triolet is a type of poem that is made up of eight lines, also called stanzas, and has a specific rhyming pattern. Historically, the triolet was first seen in European literature - specifically French literature - reportedly dating back to the 13th century. It was not until much later in time, around the 1600s, that the triolet was discovered or first seen in literature written by American authors.

The triolet is a unique poem requires that both the first and second line to be repeated. With that said, there are actually less than eight lines that the writer has to generate original content for. Note that the first line is repeated three times - at the fourth and seventh lines - while the second line is repeated once, at the eighth line. The repetition of the aforementioned three lines is where triolet - "triplet" or often referred to as "the round poem" - derives its actual name. Thomas Hardy, English author and poet who passed away in the 1920s, is one of the most famous figures to have explored the triolet with his poem entitled "How Great My Grief". 

Triolet Poem Example

"Birds At Winter"

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone'
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly! – faster
Shutting indoors the crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The Flakes fly faster
And all the berries now are gone!
Thomas Hardy

Other Triolet Definition


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Misc. Definitions

\Tri"o*let\ (tr[imac]"[-o]*l[e^]t), n. [F. triolet. See {Trio}.] A short poem or stanza of eight lines, in which the first line is repeated as the fourth and again as the seventh line, the second being, repeated as the eighth. --Brande & C.

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