noun, plural haikai for 2. Prosody.
an informal type of linked verse originated by Bashō, a 17th-century Japanese poet.
a poem of this type.

1880–85; < Japanese haikai (no renga) jesting (linked verse); earlier faikai < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese páixié jest

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a comic renga, or Japanese linked-verse form. The haikai was developed as early as the 16th century as a diversion from the composition of the more serious renga form

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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As haikai was becoming popular, the hokku was becoming a poetic idiom in its own right.
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