noun Prosody.
a short poem of fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all being based on two rhymes.

1580–90; < French < Italian; see villanella, -elle Unabridged


[vil-uh-nel-uh; Italian veel-lah-nel-lah]
noun, plural villanelle [vil-uh-nel-ee; Italian veel-lah-nel-le] .
a rustic Italian part song without accompaniment.

1590–1600; < Italian, feminine of villanello rural, rustic, equivalent to villan(o) peasant, boor (see villain) + -ello -ish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
villanella (ˌvɪləˈnɛlə)
n , pl -las
a type of part song originating in Naples during the 16th century
[C16: from Italian, from villano rustic, from Late Latin vīllānus; see villain]

villanelle (ˌvɪləˈnɛl)
a verse form of French origin consisting of 19 lines arranged in five tercets and a quatrain. The first and third lines of the first tercet recur alternately at the end of each subsequent tercet and both together at the end of the quatrain
[C16: from French, from Italian villanella]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1586, from Fr., from It. villanella "ballad, rural song," from fem. of villanello "rustic," from M.L. villanus (see villain). As a poetic form, five 3-lined stanzas and a final quatrain, with only two rhymes throughout, usually of pastoral or lyric nature.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


rustic song in Italy, where the term originated (Italian villanella from villano: "peasant"); the term was used in France to designate a short poem of popular character favoured by poets in the late 16th century. Du Bellay's "Vanneur de Ble" and Philippe Desportes' "Rozette" are examples of this early type, unrestricted in form. Jean Passerat (died 1602) left several villanelles, one so popular that it set the pattern for later poets and, accidentally, imposed a rigorous and somewhat monotonous form: seven-syllable lines using two rhymes, distributed in (normally) five tercets and a final quatrain with line repetitions.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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