foot, metrical


foot, metrical

Basic unit of verse metre. Any of various fixed combinations or groups of stressed and unstressed (or long and short) syllables comprise a foot. The prevailing kind and number of feet determines the metre of a poem. The most common feet in English verse are the iamb, an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable; the trochee, a stressed followed by an unstressed syllable; the anapest, two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable; and the dactyl, a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. See also prosody.

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