ar·​sis | \ ˈär-səs How to pronounce arsis (audio) \
plural arses\ ˈär-​ˌsēz How to pronounce arsis (audio) \

Definition of arsis

1a : the lighter or shorter part of a poetic foot especially in quantitative verse
b : the accented or longer part of a poetic foot especially in accentual verse
2 : the unaccented part of a musical measure — compare thesis

First Known Use of arsis

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for arsis

Middle English, "raising of the voice," borrowed from Latin, "raising of the voice on an emphatic syllable," borrowed from Greek ársis "lifting, raising, raising of the foot to mark an unstressed beat (in music and prosody, opposed to thésis thesis), from ar- (contracted from *awer-), base of aeírein "to lift, raise" (also, "to join, attach, harness") + -sis -sis — more at aorta

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The first known use of arsis was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Arsis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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