from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A 19-line poem of fixed form consisting of five tercets and a final quatrain on two rhymes, with the first and third lines of the first tercet repeated alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas and joined as the final couplet of the quatrain.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a type of poetry, consisting of five tercets and one quatrain, with only two rhymes.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A poem written in tercets with but two rhymes, the first and third verse of the first stanza alternating as the third verse in each successive stanza and forming a couplet at the close.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A poem in a fixed form borrowed from the French, and allied to the virelay.
French, from Italian villanella, from feminine of villanello, rustic, from villano, peasant, from Vulgar Latin *vīllānus, from Latin vīlla, country house; see weik-1 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the French (Wiktionary)