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First attested in 1751. From French vignette, diminutive of vigne (vine), from Latin vīnea, from vīnum (wine). Replaced earlier vinet.


  • enPR: vĭn-yĕtʹ, IPA(key): /vɪnˈjɛt/
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  • Rhymes: -ɛt


vignette (plural vignettes)

  1. (architecture) A running ornament consisting of leaves and tendrils, used in Gothic architecture.
  2. (printing) A decorative design, originally representing vine branches or tendrils, at the head of a chapter, of a manuscript or printed book, or in a similar position.
    • 2011, William Burgwinkle, Nicholas Hammond, Emma Wilson, The Cambridge History of French Literature, Cambridge University Press (→ISBN), page 420:
      The centrality of this particular trope can been seen in the vignette adorning the opening page of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert's Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonnée des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1751–1752).
  3. (by extension) Any small borderless picture in a book, especially an engraving, photograph, or the like, which vanishes gradually at the edge.
  4. (by extension) A short story or anecdote that presents a scene or tableau, or paints a picture.
    Synonyms: account, depiction, portrayal, representation
    • 2007, Peter Charles Taylor, John Wallace, Contemporary Qualitative Research: Exemplars for Science and Mathematics Educators, Springer Science & Business Media (→ISBN), page 126:
      A particular classroom incident, and the vignette I used to portray it, had a significant impact on the interpretative framework for my research into scientific literacy.
    • 2019, Marina Hyde, Chris Grayling is the Berk du Soleil as Farage maps out a road to nowhere , in the Guardian.[1]
      I have two favourite vignettes from the voting lobbies on Wednesday night. The first is the news that one minister told the Tory chief whip, Julian Smith: “You don’t know what you’re doing,” to which Smith replied, “I do know what I’m doing”. The second is the revelation that, during the division itself, one MP took the opportunity to ask Theresa May to sign a bottle of wine.
  5. (philately) The small picture on a postage stamp.
    • 1967, Postage Stamps of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office
      At the top of the stamp and centered slightly to the right is the wording, “U. S. Postage,” in white Gothic. Below the vignette are the words, “Little White House,” in quotations, with “Warm Springs,” centered directly below in dark Gothic, []
  6. (photography) The characteristic of a camera lens, either by deficiency in design or by mismatch of the lens with the film format, to produce an image smaller than the film's frame with a crudely focused border. Photographers may deliberately choose this characteristic for a special effect.
  7. (automotive) A small sticker affixed to a vehicle windscreen to indicate that tolls have been paid.
    • 2008, Sofia In Your Pocket, In Your Pocket (→ISBN), page 7:
      In order to drive on Bulgarian roads outside Sofia you'll need to purchase a vignette which must be displayed in the windscreen.

Derived termsEdit



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit


vignette (third-person singular simple present vignettes, present participle vignetting, simple past and past participle vignetted)

  1. To make, as an engraving or a photograph, with a border or edge gradually fading away.
    • 1922, T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Book Five, Chapter 68,[2]
      Long minutes afterwards the sun disclosed itself, high above the earth's rim, over a vignetted bank of edgeless mist.
    • 1937, Robert Byron, The Road to Oxiana, “Saoma,”[3]
      Along the wainscot lie heaps of bolsters and quilts, covered with old-fashioned chintzes. Before the War these chintzes were specially made in Russia for the Central Asian market: one bolster depicts steamships, early motor-cars, and the first aeroplane, vignetted in circles of flowers on a vermilion background.

Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit



vigne +‎ -ette.



vignette f (plural vignettes)

  1. vignette
  2. image, illustration, motif



vignette f

  1. plural of vignetta