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adjective ele·gi·ac \ˌe-lə-ˈjī-ək, -ˌak also i-ˈlē-jē-ˌak\

Definition of elegiac

  1. 1 a :  of, relating to, or consisting of two dactylic hexameter lines the second of which lacks the arsis in the third and sixth feet b (1) :  written in or consisting of elegiac couplets (2) :  noted for having written poetry in such couplets c :  of or relating to the period in Greece about the seventh century b.c. when poetry written in such couplets flourished

  2. 2 :  of, relating to, or comprising elegy or an elegy; especially :  expressing sorrow often for something now past <an elegiac lament for departed youth>

elegiac noun
elegiacally play \ˌe-lə-ˈjī-ə-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of elegiac in a sentence

  1. <the sight of an old ruined church or castle can be a pleasantly elegiac experience>

Did You Know?

Elegiac was borrowed into English in the 16th century from the Late Latin elagiacus, which in turn derives from the Greek elegeiakos. "Elegeiakos" traces back to the Greek word for "elegiac couplet" or "elegy," which was "elegeion." It is no surprise, then, that the earliest meaning of "elegiac" referred to such poetic couplets. These days, of course, the word is also used to describe anything sorrowful or nostalgic. As you may have guessed, another descendant of "elegeion" in English is "elegy," which in its oldest sense refers to a poem in elegiac couplets, and now can equally refer to a somewhat broader range of laments for something or someone that is now lost.

Variants of elegiac

also elegiacal play \ˌe-lə-ˈjī-ə-kəl\

Origin of elegiac

Late Latin elegiacus, from Greek elegeiakos, from elegeion

First Known Use: 1542

Seen and Heard

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expressing little or no emotion

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