• synonyms


noun, plural an·a·cru·ses [an-uh-kroo-seez] /ˌæn əˈkru siz/.
  1. Prosody. an unstressed syllable or syllable group that begins a line of verse but is not counted as part of the first foot.
  2. Music. the note or notes preceding a downbeat; upbeat.
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Origin of anacrusis

1825–35; < Latin < Greek anákrousis, equivalent to anakroú(ein) to strike up, push back (ana- ana- + kroúein to strike, push) + -sis -sis
Related formsan·a·crus·tic [an-uh-kruhs-tik] /ˌæn əˈkrʌs tɪk/, adjectivean·a·crus·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for anacrusis

Historical Examples

  • Lines with anacrusis in the first section and without it in the second.

    A History of English Versification

    Jakob Schipper

  • Of course in such an investigation the use of anacrusis in the types A and A1 should not be neglected.

  • The rhythmical effect of this licence has some resemblance to that of the suppression of anacrusis.

  • Such verses, however, may also be looked upon as instances of the omission of anacrusis combined with epic caesura.

  • Rhythmical licences, such as suppression of the anacrusis, seldom occur in such short lines.

British Dictionary definitions for anacrusis


noun plural -ses (-siːz)
  1. prosody one or more unstressed syllables at the beginning of a line of verse
  2. music
    1. an unstressed note or group of notes immediately preceding the strong first beat of the first bar
    2. another word for upbeat
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Derived Formsanacrustic (ˌænəˈkrʌstɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Greek anakrousis prelude, from anakrouein to strike up, from ana- + krouein to strike
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

Word Origin and History for anacrusis


"unstressed syllable at the beginning of a verse," 1833, Latinized from Greek anakrousis "a pushing back," of a ship, "backing water," from anakrouein "to push back, stop short, check," from ana- "back" (see ana-) + krouein "to strike," from PIE *kreue- (2) "to push, strike" (cf. Russian krusit, Lithuanian krusu "to smash, shatter," Old Church Slavonic kruchu "piece, bit of food," Old English hreowian "feel pain or sorrow," Old Norse hryggja "make sad").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper