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[kat-l-ek-tik] /ˌkæt lˈɛk tɪk/ Prosody
(of a line of verse) lacking part of the last foot; metrically incomplete, as the second line of One more unfortunate,/Weary of breath.
a catalectic line of verse.
Origin of catalectic
1580-90; < Late Latin catalēcticus < Greek katalēktikós incomplete, equivalent to katalēk-, variant stem of katalḗgein to leave off (kata- cata- + lḗgein to end) + -tikos -tic Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for catalectic
Historical Examples
  • In like manner the catalectic iambic tetrameter is broken up by inserted rhyme into two short verses, viz.

  • Here the alternate lines are catalectic, both light syllables being wanting.

    English Verse Raymond MacDonald Alden, Ph.D.
British Dictionary definitions for catalectic


(prosody) (of a line of verse) having an incomplete final foot
Word Origin
C16: via Late Latin from Greek katalēktikos incomplete, from katalēgein, from kata- off + lēgein to stop
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 catalectic

1580s, "wanting a syllable in the last foot," from Late Latin catalecticus, from Greek katalektikos "leaving off," from kata- "down" (see cata-) + legein "to leave off, cease from," from PIE *(s)leg- "to be slack, be languid" (see lax).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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