Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


A verse form first used by the Provençal troubadours, consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the other stanzas and also recur in the envoy.

[Italian, from sesto, sixth, from Latin sextus; see s(w)eks in Indo-European roots.]
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) an elaborate verse form of Italian origin, normally unrhymed, consisting of six stanzas of six lines each and a concluding tercet. The six final words of the lines in the first stanza are repeated in a different order in each of the remaining five stanzas and also in the concluding tercet. Also called: sestine or sextain
[C19: from Italian, from sesto sixth, from Latin sextus]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(sɛˈsti nə)

n., pl. -nas, -ne (-nā).
a poem of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy, in which each stanza repeats the end words of the lines of the first stanza, but in different order, the envoy using the six words again, three in the middle of the lines and three at the end. Also called sextain.
[1580–90; < Italian sixth]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Playing with form is a customary feature, so that there are haiku, tanka, sonnets, blues, a sestina, a kalisud, verse literations, a "One-line Ekphrasis," "Five-Vowel Poetics," "The Koan of Kuan," "Cebuano Latin," etc.
Sextain = sestina, a 6 stanzas x 6 lines verse form.
The image, and the whole sestina itself, effectively swings
Shuman's stories deliver, Eddie's Underwear digs a little deeper — if one can imagine that —and also includes several Haikus, a Sestina, and a bonus interview at the end.
"This town is stitched by river," the first line of her "Iowa City Sestina," provides the title for the book.
This is the king's sestina. And now we cry across our life for
Essi si possono dividere in due parti, pure intimamente connesse: Luna di natura "teorica", l'altra di lecturae, volta a scandagliare da vicino i testi in questione (Purgatorio 26 e 27, Paradiso 14 e una sestina petrarchesca di ispirazione petrosa, ovvero RVF 66).
A characteristic example is her sestina "Sisyphus." (29) A sestina is a poem of six six-line stanzas, typically followed by an "envoi." It does not rhyme; rather, the lines end with one of six words that the poet chooses at will but that follow a rigid order.
The sestina form Bishop uses in "A Miracle" realizes the possibilities of ambiguity that the end of "The Monument" suggests hatch any art.
DIDO AND AENEAS BY HENRY PURCELL DATE: Saturday 2nd April TIME: 7.30pm VENUE: Ulster Hall Early Music Ensemble Sestina present a concert staging of Henry Purcell's masterpiece Dido and Aeneas.
Agamben also presents a specific literary example as a miniature model of the messianic structure of time identified in the Pauline texts: the sestina and its rhyme scheme.
A specialized form of the Provencal canso and the Italian canzone, the sestina was developed sometime toward the end of the 13th century by the famed Provencal troubadour Arnaut Daniel.