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 (sîr-väNt′, sər-vĕnt′) also sir·ven·tes (sər-vĕn′tĭs, -vĕnts′)
n. pl. sir·ventes (-väNt′, -vĕnts′) also sir·vent·es (-vĕn′təs)
A form of lyric verse of the Provençal troubadours satirizing political figures, personal rivals, or social morals.

[French, from Provençal sirventes, from Old Provençal, from sirvent, servant (the position of a lover towards his mistress), from Latin serviēns, servient-, present participle of servīre, to serve, from servus, servant.]
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.


(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a verse form employed by the troubadours of Provence to satirize moral or political themes
[C19: via French from Provençal sirventes song of a servant (that is, of a lover serving his mistress), from sirvent a servant, from Latin servīre to serve]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



also sir•ven•tes

(-ˈvɛn tɪs)

n., pl. -ventes (-ˈvɑnt, -ˈvɑnts) also -ven•tes (-ˈvɛn tɪs)
a medieval poem or song of heroic or satirical character, as composed by a troubadour.
[1810–20; < Occitan sirventes literally, pertaining to a servant, i.e., lover]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The knight in the meantime, had brought the strings into some order, and after a short prelude, asked his host whether he would choose a sirvente in the language of oc, or a lai in the language of oui, or a virelai, or a ballad in the vulgar English.*
I remember well that, at the siege of Retters, there was a little, sleek, fat clerk of the name of Chaucer, who was so apt at rondel, sirvente, or tonson, that no man dare give back a foot from the walls, lest he find it all set down in his rhymes and sung by every underling and varlet in the camp.
Many of the poems, though, work so hard to sound modern that this lucidity gets lost, as in "I Grew Hoarse": "Go, sirventes, to the White House, / to the UN," writes Keelan, "and exhume our bodies, / history of women, real and image, / while our husbands cowered in the shadows!" This final stanza of a poem in protest of sumptuary laws generates stirring and precise insights for the reader: the exhortation "exhume our bodies" reveals, at the level of syntax, the extent to which those bodies are coeval with a "history of women, real and image." But these insights are stalled by the reader's need to stop and sort out what among the poem's materials is modern, what is historical, and why and how the two are juxtaposed.
Finally from a formal perspective, in the troubadour corpus Bertran was known as the inventor of the sirventes, in which he set new lyrics of a different theme (satirical rather than love) to preestablished metrical forms and melodies.
I include two anonymously authored sirventes, a type of moralizing poem, either political, personal, or didactic intone, that addresses subjects other than love, most often regardingsocial or religious authority.
Boccaccio might also have had in mind another composition which Dante mentions but which he does not consider worthy of being inserted into his libello except for a brief reference to it; namely, the Dante-persona's remembrance of a poem (a sirventes), in which the name of Beatrice appears together with the names of sixty other beautiful ladies of the city.
The terza rima form that he used may have derived from the sirventes genre of Occitan poetry used by the troubadours, notably Bertran de Born, the favourite of Ezra Pound.
Scholars of Occitan lyric have shown that the troubadours developed exquisitely subtle forms of citation, particularly in the genre of the sirventes, which came to maturity in the work of Bertran de Born (ca.