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blank verse

unrhymed verse, especially the unrhymed iambic pentameter most frequently used in English dramatic, epic, and reflective verse.
Origin of blank verse
First recorded in 1580-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for blank verse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But we must now regard the application of blank verse to the use of the drama.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • blank verse he would have found quite easy compared to this.

    David Elginbrod George MacDonald
  • The use of blank verse had yet to be discovered, and Lyly was to have a hand in this matter also.

    John Lyly John Dover Wilson
  • I believe they talk in blank verse with occasional lapses into rhyme.

  • His facility in the handling of blank verse is also remarkable.

    Victorian Worthies

    George Henry Blore
  • Philippa occasionally broke into blank verse like this, but not often.

    Much Darker Days Andrew Lang (AKA A. Huge Longway)
  • But the last of the three is the essential of Miltonic blank verse.


    Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh
  • In England the dispute is not yet settled which is to be preferred, rhyme or blank verse.

    Seven Discourses on Art Joshua Reynolds
  • He had not the slightest notion of what blank verse should be.

British Dictionary definitions for blank verse

blank verse

(prosody) unrhymed verse, esp in iambic pentameters
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for blank verse

1580s; the thing itself is attested in English poetry from mid-16c. and is classical in origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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blank verse in Culture

blank verse definition

Verse written in iambic pentameter, without rhyme. Many of the speeches in the plays of William Shakespeare are written in blank verse; this example is from Macbeth:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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