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A verse form composed of quatrains in which the second and fourth lines are repeated as the first and third lines of the following quatrain.
[French, printer's error (in the first edition of Victor Hugo's Les Orientales (1829), which discussed the pantoum and began its popularization in French poetry) for pantoun, from Malay pantun, quatrain with a deliberately indirect allusive connection between the first couplet and the last, pantoum, perhaps from Krama (ceremonial form of Javanese in which words are phonetically deformed by adding nasals to the end of syllables), from Javanese pari, phrase, comparison, perhaps ultimately short for Sanskrit paribhāṣya-, (thing) to be stated, defined, or taught, from paribhāṣate, to explain, define : pari-, around; see per in Indo-European roots + bhāṣate, to speak.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Poetry) prosody a verse form consisting of a series of quatrains in which the second and fourth lines of each verse are repeated as the first and third lines of the next
[C19: via French from Malay pantun]
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