1. a decorative design or small illustration used on the title page of a book or at the beginning or end of a chapter.
  2. an engraving, drawing, photograph, or the like that is shaded off gradually at the edges so as to leave no definite line at the border.
  3. a decorative design representing branches, leaves, grapes, or the like, as in a manuscript.
  4. any small, pleasing picture or view.
  5. a small, graceful literary sketch.

verb (used with object), vi·gnet·ted, vi·gnet·ting.

  1. Photography. to finish (a picture, photograph, etc.) in the manner of a vignette.


  1. a small illustration placed at the beginning or end of a book or chapter
  2. a short graceful literary essay or sketch
  3. a photograph, drawing, etc, with edges that are shaded off
  4. architect a carved ornamentation that has a design based upon tendrils, leaves, etc
  5. any small endearing scene, view, picture, etc

verb (tr)

  1. to finish (a photograph, picture, etc) with a fading border in the form of a vignette
    1. to decorate with vignettes
    2. to portray in or as in a vignette

1751, “decorative design,” originally a design in the form of vine tendrils around the borders of a book page, especially a picture page, from French vignette, from Old French diminutive of vigne “vineyard” (see vine). Sense transferred from the border to the picture itself, then (1853) to a type of small photographic portrait with blurred edges very popular mid-19c. Meaning “literary sketch” is first recorded 1880, probably from the photographic sense.

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