an·​a·​cru·​sis | \ ˌa-nə-ˈkrü-səs How to pronounce anacrusis (audio) \
plural anacruses\ ˌa-​nə-​ˈkrü-​ˌsēz How to pronounce anacrusis (audio) \

Definition of anacrusis

1 : one or more syllables at the beginning of a line of poetry that are regarded as preliminary to and not a part of the metrical pattern
2 : upbeat specifically : one or more notes or tones preceding the first downbeat of a musical phrase

First Known Use of anacrusis

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anacrusis

borrowed from New Latin & Greek; New Latin, borrowed from Greek anákrousis, ánkrousis "act of pushing back, beginning of a song," noun derivative (with the suffix -sis -sis), from anakroúein "to push back, strike up, begin (a melody)," from ana- ana- + kroúein "to strike, knock, play," going back to Indo-European *kreu̯s- "strike," whence also Lithuanian krùšti "to crush, trample," Old Church Slavic krušiti "to smash"

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The first known use of anacrusis was in 1811

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Cite this Entry

“Anacrusis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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