Word for Wednesday: Sonnet

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March 21 marks World Poetry Day and to celebrate we’ve chosen poetry for this month’s Word for Wednesday theme.
The word poetry dates to the late-fourteenth century and comes from the Old French ‘poetrie’, from the Latin ‘poeta’. 

Our first poetry-themed word for March is sonnet.

A sonnet is a poem made up of fourteen lines with a fixed rhyming structure. There are two popular types of sonnet: the Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnet and the Shakespearean (or English) sonnet

The Petrarchan sonnet is made up of an eight-lined stanza (an octet) and a six-lined stanza (a sestet). The rhyme scheme is ABBAABBA CDECDE or ABBAABBA CDCDCD. 

The Shakespearean sonnet is made up of three four-lined stanzas (quatrains) and a rhyming couplet. The rhyme scheme is: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

The word sonnet first appeared in English in 1557 in the title of the Earl of Surrey’s poems. The French word ‘sonnet’ dates to the 1540s and comes from the Italian ‘sonetto’ meaning ‘little song’. ‘Sonetto’ comes from ‘sonet’ meaning ‘song’, from the Latin ‘sonus’ meaning 'sound'. Originally, in English, the word was used to refer to any type of short lyric poem.

02 Mar 2022
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