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anapest

or an·a·paest

[an-uh-pest]
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noun Prosody.
  1. a foot of three syllables, two short followed by one long in quantitative meter, and two unstressed followed by one stressed in accentual meter, as in for the nonce.

Origin of anapest

1580–90; < Latin anapaestus < Greek anápaistos struck back, reversed (as compared with a dactyl), equivalent to ana- ana- + pais- (variant stem of paíein to strike) + -tos past participle suffix
Related formsan·a·pes·tic, an·a·paes·tic, adjectivean·a·pes·ti·cal·ly, an·a·paes·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for anapestic

Historical Examples

  • The measure of the song is anapestic (that is, with the accent on every third syllable), with modifications.

    The Lady of the Lake

    Sir Walter Scott

  • A poetic foot of three syllables which bears the accent on the third syllable is called an anapestic foot.

  • Technically the poem is anapestic tetrameter much varied by the introduction of iambic feet.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10

    Charles Herbert Sylvester

  • Anapestic feet are used freely to improve the music; in fact, they are nearly as numerous as the iambic feet.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10

    Charles Herbert Sylvester

  • Again we find, especially in dactyllic and anapestic lines, a trochee or spondee thrown in to vary the movement.

    Rhymes and Meters

    Horatio Winslow


Word Origin and History for anapestic

adj.

1690s, from Latin anapaesticus, from Greek anapaistikos, from anapaistos (see anapest).

anapest

n.

also anapaest, "two short syllables followed by a long one," 1670s, from Latin anapestus, from Greek anapaistos "struck back, rebounding," verbal adjective from anapaiein "to strike back," from ana- "back" (see ana-) + paiein "to strike," from PIE *pau- "to cut, strike, stamp" (see pave). So called because it reverses the dactyl.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper