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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.]


(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]


(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]
References in periodicals archive ?
He called this pattern the retrogradatio cruciata. Retrogradatio (from Medieval Latin), refers to backward movement, and cruciata (from crux, meaning cross) implies crossing.
I've suggested that the retrogradatio cruciata's dyadic movement enacts a cathartic rite.
Petrarch's sestinas match the defining traits of the metrical form created by Arnaut Daniel: the rhyme scheme ABCDEF, the use of rhyme-words, and the permutation, called retrogradatio cruciata in medieval Latin tradition (Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia 245), that leads each rhyme-word artfully through all six positions in six stanzas.