Definitions

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

  • n. A decorative design placed at the beginning or end of a book or chapter of a book or along the border of a page.
  • n. An unbordered picture, often a portrait, that shades off into the surrounding color at the edges.
  • n. A short, usually descriptive literary sketch.
  • n. A short scene or incident, as from a movie.
  • transitive v. To soften the edges of (a picture) in vignette style.
  • transitive v. To describe in a brief way.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A running ornament consisting of leaves and tendrils, used in Gothic architecture.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A picture, illustration, or depiction in words, esp. one of a small or dainty kind.
  • transitive v. To make, as an engraving or a photograph, with a border or edge insensibly fading away.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In photography, to treat or produce, as a portrait, in the style of a vignette.
  • n. A running ornament of vine-leaves, tendrils, and grapes, as in architecture.
  • n. The flourishes in the form of vine-leaves, branches, etc., with which capital letters in manuscripts are sometimes surrounded.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Hence, any image or picture; a cut or illustration.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small illustrative sketch (as sometimes placed at the beginning of chapters in books)
  • n. a brief literary description
  • n. 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

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The case based model teaches through clinical vignettes.

    May 26, 2010

  • 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

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

    February 26, 2008

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

    February 25, 2008