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

  • noun A poet appointed for life by a British monarch as a member of the royal household and expected to write poems celebrating occasions of national importance and honoring the royal family.
  • noun A poet appointed to a similar honorary position or honored for artistic excellence.
  • noun A poet acclaimed as the most excellent or most representative of a locality or group.

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

  • noun A poet officially appointed by a government, often expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events
  • noun obsolete One who received an honorable degree in grammar, including poetry and rhetoric, at the English universities; -- so called as being presented with a wreath of laurel
  • noun UK Formerly, an officer of the king's household, whose business was to compose an ode annually for the king's birthday, and other suitable occasions; now, a poet officially distinguished by such honorary title, the office being a sinecure. It is said this title was first given in the time of Edward IV

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

  • noun the poet officially appointed to the royal household in Great Britain
  • noun a poet who is unofficially regarded as holding an honorary position in a particular group or region


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word poet laureate.


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


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

  • Who was talking about Joy Harjo? Was it fbharjo? Today, Joy Harjo was appointed the US poet laureate by the Librarian of Congress and became the first Native American so appointed.

    June 20, 2019

  • Yes it was.

    June 21, 2019

  • Joy Harjo's memoir 'Crazy Brave' is a great read. Her journey is a meracious wonder.

    June 25, 2019