Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A decorative design placed at the beginning or end of a book or chapter of a book or along the border of a page.
  • noun An unbordered picture, often a portrait, that shades off into the surrounding color at the edges.
  • noun A short, usually descriptive literary sketch.
  • noun A short scene or incident, as from a movie.
  • transitive verb To provide (a photograph or image) with indistinct or fading edges.
  • transitive verb To describe in a brief way.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In photography, to treat or produce, as a portrait, in the style of a vignette.
  • noun A running ornament of vine-leaves, tendrils, and grapes, as in architecture.
  • noun The flourishes in the form of vine-leaves, branches, etc., with which capital letters in manuscripts are sometimes surrounded.
  • noun In printing, the engraved illustration or decoration that precedes a title-page or the beginning of a chapter: so called because many of the cuts first made for books in France were inclosed with a border of the general character of trailing vines.
  • noun Hence, any image or picture; a cut or illustration.
  • noun A photographic portrait showing only the head, or the head and shoulders, and so printed that the ground shades off insensibly around the subject into an even color, which may be that of the untreated paper, or a more or less dark shade produced by a separate operation; hence, any picture, not a portrait, treated in the same way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To make, as an engraving or a photograph, with a border or edge insensibly fading away.
  • noun (Arch.) A running ornament consisting of leaves and tendrils, used in Gothic architecture.
  • noun 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; hence, by extension, any small picture in a book; hence, also, as such pictures are often without a definite bounding line, any picture, as an engraving, a photograph, or the like, which vanishes gradually at the edge.
  • noun A picture, illustration, or depiction in words, esp. one of a small or dainty kind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun architecture A running ornament consisting of leaves and tendrils, used in Gothic architecture.
  • noun 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.
  • noun by extension Any small borderless picture in a book, especially an engraving, photograph, or the like, which vanishes gradually at the edge.
  • noun by extension A short story that presents a scene or tableau, or paints a picture.
  • noun The small picture on a postage stamp.
  • verb To make, as an engraving or a photograph, with a border or edge gradually fading away.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a small illustrative sketch (as sometimes placed at the beginning of chapters in books)
  • noun a brief literary description
  • noun a photograph whose edges shade off gradually

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Old French, diminutive of vigne, vine (from the use of vine tendrils in decorative borders); see vine.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

Examples

  • Of the fourteen short sketches, it is difficult to measure one above the other; nevertheless, the title vignette,

    La Bloga

  • And discovered that what I needed to be a 2k-word vignette is determined to be a 4k-word short story.

    Mabon '09

  • After all, a vignette is a simple character sketch, and Ballard himself has always been assaulted by critics for his poor characterization.

    Ballardian » ‘I really would not want to fuck George W. Bush!’: A Conversation with J.G. Ballard

  • This vignette is as arresting as the toe-swallowing statue.

    Hegel on Buddhism

  • He saw them together on the Lido and (those writing fellows are horrible) he wrote what he calls a vignette (I suppose accidentally, too) under that very title.

    The Arrow of Gold

  • He saw them together on the Lido and (those writing fellows are horrible) he wrote what he calls a vignette (I suppose accidentally, too) under that very title.

    The Arrow of Gold

  • He saw them together on the Lido and (those writing fellows are horrible) he wrote what he calls a vignette (I suppose accidentally, too) under that very title.

    The Arrow of Gold : A Story Between Two Notes

  • He saw them together on the Lido and (those writing fellows are horrible) he wrote what he calls a vignette (I suppose accidentally, too) under that very title.

    The Arrow of Gold

  • Sony also ran a "Smooth Criminal" vignette from the disc showing Jackson "interact" with Rita Hayworth, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart in classic black and white footage from Gilda and other old-time movies.

    CES: Michael Jackson on Blu-ray

  • One vignette from a black gamer really struck me, and it's full of grist for the social science mill:

    A Black Gamer Speaks, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • In illustrated books, an illustration unenclosed by a formal border.

    February 25, 2008

  • Interesting this evolved into the more common present day meeting.

    February 26, 2008

  • Also applied to photography, in the often accidental darkening around the edge of a print. The type that makes the Lomo Compact Automat distinctive as an image making device.

    March 12, 2009

  • The case based model teaches through clinical vignettes.

    May 26, 2010