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Word of the Day
Monday, November 06, 2017

Definitions for enjambment

  1. Prosody. the running on of the thought from one line, couplet, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break.

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Citations for enjambment
... enjambment is a word that means that you're wending your way along a line of poetry, and you're walking right out to the very end of the line, way out, and it's all going fine, and you're expecting the syntax to give you a polite tap on the shoulder to wait for a moment.... But instead the syntax pokes at you and says hustle it, pumpkin, keep walking, don't rest. So naturally, because you're stepping out onto nothingness, you fall. You tumble forward, gaaaah, and you end up all discombobulated at the beginning of the next line ... Nicholson Baker, The Anthologist, 2009
Hip-hop historians call this period the Golden Age (Bradley and DuBois date it from 1985 to 1992), and it produced the kinds of lyrical shifts that are easy to spot in print: extended similes and ambitious use of symbolism; an increased attention to character and ideology; unpredictable internal rhyme schemes; enjambment and uneven line lengths. Kelefa Sanneh, "Word," The New Yorker, December 6, 2010
Origin of enjambment
1830-1840
Enjambment is a term in rhetoric and poetry with the same meaning as “run-on (line).” The French noun derives from the verb enjamber “to stride over, encroach,” a derivative of jambe “leg.” Jambe is the normal French development of Late Latin gamba “(horse’s) hoof, leg,” used in a treatise on veterinary medicine of the 5th century. Enjambment entered English in the 19th century.