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[poh-uh m] /ˈpoʊ əm/
a composition in verse, especially one that is characterized by a highly developed artistic form and by the use of heightened language and rhythm to express an intensely imaginative interpretation of the subject.
composition that, though not in verse, is characterized by great beauty of language or expression:
a prose poem from the Scriptures; a symphonic poem.
something having qualities that are suggestive of or likened to those of poetry:
Marcel, that chicken cacciatore was an absolute poem.
1540-50; < Latin poēma < Greek poíēma poem, something made, equivalent to poiē-, variant stem of poieîn to make + -ma suffix denoting result Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for poems
  • poems as well as stories can help us understand human character.
  • One of my favorite things to do is write poetry, and this singer my dad knows recorded some of my poems as singles.
  • His diary is scattered with poems, his own and others'.
  • He scrawled intricate poems on the foil linings of cigarette packs.
  • The poems selected are mostly written in a natural, colloquial style and should be read that way.
  • At night, he emptied out the bag and put the lines together as poems, which he threw into another bag and forgot.
  • These collected poems are no fat volume but a thin book of only fifty lyrics, not one of which overruns its page.
  • It's a slim book, as intense as a volume of poems, and among the best things he's done.
  • His readers were limited to the select group who received his poems, privately printed on broadsheets or bound in folders.
  • He wrote his first poems there, which he used to entertain the local chiefs and monks.
British Dictionary definitions for poems


a composition in verse, usually characterized by concentrated and heightened language in which words are chosen for their sound and suggestive power as well as for their sense, and using such techniques as metre, rhyme, and alliteration
a literary composition that is not in verse but exhibits the intensity of imagination and language common to it: a prose poem
anything resembling a poem in beauty, effect, etc
Word Origin
C16: from Latin poēma, from Greek, variant of poiēma something composed, created, from poiein to make
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
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Word Origin and History for poems



1540s (replacing poesy in this sense), from Middle French poème (14c.), from Latin poema "composition in verse, poetry," from Greek poema "fiction, poetical work," literally "thing made or created," early variant of poiema, from poein, poiein, "to make or compose" (see poet). Spelling pome, representing an ignorant pronunciation, is attested from 1856.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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