What is a five-line stanza called?


Quick Answer

A five-line stanza is called a quintain. Forms that use stanzas of this length include the English quintain and the popular limerick. Most quintain forms are rhymed.

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Full Answer

The uneven number of lines allows for several rhyming patterns. These rhyming patterns largely determine what type of quintain the stanza is. An English quintain is commonly rhymed ababb, while a limerick is rhymed aabba, with the "b" lines shortened to two iambs instead of three. The pentastitch and the cinquain have five lines that are generally free verse rather than rhymed lines; they are distinct in their metrical forms rather than rhyme schemes. Other forms include the Sicilian and Spanish quintains, the Monchielle stanza, and the envelope quintet.

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