Definition of verse in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /vərs/


1Writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme: a lament in verse [as modifier]: verse drama
More example sentences
  • Both he and Frost advocated the use of natural diction, and of colloquial speech rhythms in metrical verse.
  • The only way to write poetry is to begin by writing verse.
  • Among the pioneers of free verse, D. H. Lawrence stands out as one who, though gifted in metrical verse, is happier without meter.
poetry, versification, poetic form;
poems, balladry, lyrics, lines, doggerel
literary poesy
poem, lyric, ballad, sonnet, ode, limerick, rhyme, ditty, lay
1.1A group of lines that form a unit in a poem or song; a stanza: the second verse
More example sentences
  • They laugh and joke and make up verses to songs and poems and chants about women and body parts.
  • Ritson also published several popular collections and anthologies of songs, children's verses, fairy stories, etc.
  • They both process thrilling ur-poetry: entangled, limitlessly complicated prose poems and verses.
stanza, canto, couplet, cinquain;
1.2Each of the short numbered divisions of a chapter in the Bible or other scripture.
Example sentences
  • These moments draw on and return to a practice entrenched in evangelicalism: the use of Bible memory verses.
  • We have many different such divisions ranging from what would be long verses to chapter style divisions.
  • In a short work like this we cannot examine all the verses in the Bible which refer to the devil and Satan.
1.3A versicle.
Example sentences
  • The children memorize verses and are asked questions about doctrine.
  • He was quoting, and more specifically he was quoting the first verse of the twenty-second psalm.
  • Both paintings illustrate the power of God's creative energy so forcefully evoked in the opening verses of Psalm 8.
1.4 archaic A line of poetry.
Example sentences
  • Semantic Poetry doesn't arrange verses into bunches of flowers.
  • The sisters smiled at the poetry and added a verse onto it.
1.5A passage in an anthem for a soloist or a small group of voices.
Example sentences
  • Oh, and there's a huge, meat-grinder chorus between the minstrel verses.
  • I quoted from the second verse of our national anthem.


[no object] archaic
Speak in or compose verse; versify.
Example sentences
  • He maintains, ‘it is not rhyming and versing that maketh a poet.’



Pronunciation: /ˈvərslət/
Example sentences
  • The unconsidered trifles of this genre and verselets written after 1927 were put together four years after his death in Sphulinga.
  • Each separate verselet, or sentence, is therefore seen as one bullet item in this paragraph on God-Israel relationships.
  • My grandmother read me verselets in Polish (when I was a child) but I don't know the language, understand only some words.


Old English fers, from Latin versus 'a turn of the plow, a furrow, a line of writing', from vertere 'to turn'; reinforced in Middle English by Old French vers, from Latin versus.

  • In his poem ‘Digging’ (1966), Seamus Heaney resolves to carry on the family tradition of digging the soil by ‘digging’ himself, not with a spade like his father and grandfather, but with a pen. The link between agriculture and writing poetry goes all the way back to the origin of the word verse, as Latin versus meant both ‘a turn of the plough, furrow’ and ‘a line of writing’. The idea here is that of a plough turning and marking another straight line or furrow. Versus is also the source of versatile (early 17th century) and version (Late Middle English), and it is based on Latin vertere ‘to turn’, from which vertebra (early 17th century), vertical (mid 16th century), vertigo (Late Middle English), and many other words such as adverse (Late Middle English), convert (Late Middle English), and pervert (Late Middle English) ‘turn bad’. Vortex (mid 17th century) is closely related. Versed (early 17th century), as in well versed in, is different, coming from Latin versari ‘be engaged in’.

Words that rhyme with verse

amerce, asperse, averse, biodiverse, burse, coerce, converse, curse, diverse, Erse, hearse, immerse, intersperse, nurse, perse, perverse, purse, reimburse, submerse, terce, terse, transverse, worse

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: verse

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.