Friday, September 30, 2022

Poetry Friday: The Definito (and related forms)

At Planet Word's photo booth, 
acting out the definitions of SAT words

Last month, I had to take a break due to travel, but for this month's challenge, I'm definito-ly here. 

        Oooh, that joke was...


Not filled with awe,
but the opposite,  
things that drain you

of delight, on the scale 
of bad to worse,
it's nearly dreadful--  
a dire expression of shared
pain:  awwwww, noooooo...


          ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

See how easy that was?  A definito (according to its creator, Heidi Mordhorst) is "a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.  You can see her full explanation and several wonderful examples here. 

I admit, this kind of poem is right up my alley. Definitions? Word play? Less common words?  Yes!  But it also got me thinking, as great poetry does:  What about the,..

In-definito??  Would that be....

A poem that vaguely
runs on and on and on...? 
Well....not exactly...

It's hard to say...
I can't pin it down...
Maybe it's just... 

not settled...

I didn't mean
to define an


          ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

Then there's the Imagin-ito.  

That's where you write a poem that defines an imaginary word---or as I call them "words that should be words."  I keep a list of such words on my phone. Not sure why-- maybe it's in honor of Frindle by Andrew Clements. Or to use in my own books one day.  In any case, here's one:


a person
who hides their
true smarts

behind a perky
attitude, appearing

until they skewer
you unexpectedly
with a dimpled smile.

            ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

So what word would you like to define, imaginary or real?  Drop your Definito, In-definito, or Imagin-ito in the comments.  

My poetry sisters Definitos can be found here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabitha Yeatts. 


  1. Fun x 3!! Up next, an Oppos-ito!

  2. I love awful and the enjambment of "things that drain you/of delight."
    I find the idea of the imaginito intriguing. I've know a few dimperts in my time.

  3. *snort* Dimpert. I love that one, especially because PERT is a word that also describes that slightly snarky, "fresh" as they used to call it, mouthy and mildly disrespectful type of person. No dimples, though.

    Love these.

  4. What a smorgasbord of delights! All the words! Thank you!

  5. HA! More bang for the buck here, for sure! Sadly I don't think the indefinito will catch on; isn't that most other writing? But the imaginito, yes indeed!

    is your prose or poem flagging?
    passing into passive lagging?
    vacillating? lacking sass?
    not achieving critical mass?
    make it active! flex its muscles!
    tighten up and make it hustle!
    choose some words that send it
    leaping, flying--yes, inflate it!
    take that poem,beverberate it!

  6. oh, my bring the definito platter to the party. Wonderful word play here and a solid grasp of this form. I do love the idea of an indefinit-o

  7. These are fabulous, and the indefinito made me laugh. Though I admit that Awful was my favorite. Drain, delight, dreadful, dire...such wonderful words in that one. Plus, I had thought about an awe-filled/awful pun in my Folly definito in an earlier draft. Luckily, I knew I couldn't carry it off! :>D

  8. The whimsical photo of you is great. You really ran with the definito form, didn't you? So inventive!

  9. This made me have an imaginary thought of a book titled "Definitory", Sara. These are terrific, the trail created beautifully, too. (I wrote a dual-definito.)

  10. Oh my god, I love these SO MUCH and you really PLAYED this month -- thank you for inspiring that in all of us!!

  11. "See how easy that was?" Ha! Sara, you *always* make it look easy. :) These are delightful! A dimpert?? Oh, I'd steal that if it weren't your creation. Huzzah for imaginitos and yay for Frindle-isms. (I have a deep adoring place in my heart for Frindle.)


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