ar·​sis ˈär-səs How to pronounce arsis (audio)
plural arses ˈär-ˌsēz How to pronounce arsis (audio)
: the lighter or shorter part of a poetic foot especially in quantitative verse
: the accented or longer part of a poetic foot especially in accentual verse
: the unaccented part of a musical measure compare thesis

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near arsis

Cite this Entry

“Arsis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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