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The regular patterns of accent that unerlie metrical verse; the metrical patterns of repetition of unaccented and accented syllables in poetry


the process of measuring metrical verse-i.e. of marking unaccented and accented syllables, dividing the line into feet, identifying the metrical pattern, and noting the significant variations from that pattern


metrical pattern with one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable


metrical unit (one foot) with the iambic pattern


metrical pattern with one stresses syllable followed by one unstressed syllable


metrical unit (one foot) with the trochaic pattern


metrical pattern with two unstressed syllables followed by one stresses syllable


metrical unit (one foot) with the anapestic pattern


metrical pattern with one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables


metrical unit (one foot) with the dactylic pattern


one metrical foot (i.e. one stressed syllable in the line)


two metrical feet (i.e. two stressed syllables in the line)


three metrical feet (i.e. three stressed syllables in the line)


four metrical feet (i.e. four stressed syllables in the line)


five metrical feet (i.e. five stressed syllables in the line)


six metrical feet (i.e. six stressed syllables in the line)

expected rhythm

the rhythmic expectation set by the basic meter of a poem

heard rhythm

the actual rhythm of a metrical poem as we hear it when read naturally. the heard rhythm mostly conforms to but sometimes departs from the expected rhythm


the replacement of an expected metrical foot by a different one (for instance a trochee in an otherwise iambic line)


substitution of a trochee in an otherwise iambic line, or vice versa. (inversion that occurs at the beginning of the line if called initial inversion)

headless line

an iambic line with only one (accented) syllable in the first foot

extra-metrical syllables

one or more extra unstressed syllables at the beginnings or endings of lines (usually at the ends of iambic lines), either as a consistent feature of the metrical form of the poem or as an exception

blank verse

unrhymed iambic pentameter

free verse

unmetered poetry


poetic paragraph; a group of lines whose metrical pattern is repeated throughout a poem


two successive lines, usually in the same meter, linked by rhyme


continuation of a sentence from one line or stanza of a poem to the next so that closely related words fall on different lines. the effect of enjambment is usually either to call attention to specific words or to show the connected thought or flow between stanzas


the repitition at close intervals of the initial sounds of words


the repetition at close intervals of vowel sounds


the repetition at clsoe intervals of consonant sounds


the repetition at close intervals of he 's' sound, suggestive of hissing


the repetition of accented vowel sound and all succeeding sounds in closely linked words; also called perfect rhyme

approximate rhyme

a term used for words in a rhyming patten with some kind of sound correspondence (usually assonance or consonance) but are not perfect perfect rhymes; also called imperfect rhyme

internal rhyme

a rhyme in which one or both of the rhyme words are within the line

identical rhyme

either a homonym or the same word repeated in a rhyming position (esp. end rhyme)

feminine rhyme

a rhyme in which the repeated accented vowel is in either the second or third last syllable of the words involved


words that mimic their meaning in sound

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