Shakespearean sonnet  A sonnet is a fixed form of lyric poetry that consists of fourteen lines, usually written in iambic pentameter. A Shakespearean sonnet is one of the two basic types of sonnet (the other is the Italian sonnet), also known as the English sonnet. The Shakespearean sonnet is organized into three quatrains and a couplet, which typically rhyme abab cdcd efef gg. This rhyme scheme is more suited to English poetry because English has fewer rhyming words than Italian. English sonnets, because of their four-part organization, also have more flexibility with respect to where thematic breaks can occur. Frequently, however, the most pronounced break or turn comes with the concluding couplet, as in Shakespeare's "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (See also, sonnet.)

The definitions in this glossary were adapted from The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Sixth Edition, by Michael Meyer