1. a dactylic line of six feet, as in Greek and Latin epic poetry, in which the first four feet are dactyls or spondees, the fifth is ordinarily a dactyl, and the last is a trochee or spondee, with a caesura usually following the long syllable in the third foot.
  2. any line of verse in six feet, as in English poetry.
  1. consisting of six metrical feet.

Origin of hexameter

1540–50; < Latin < Greek hexámetros of six measures, equivalent to hexa- hexa- + métr(on) measure + -os adj. suffix
Related formshex·a·met·ric [hek-suh-me-trik] /ˌhɛk səˈmɛ trɪk/, hex·a·met·ri·cal, hex·am·e·tral, adjective
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British Dictionary definitions for hexameter


noun prosody
  1. a verse line consisting of six metrical feet
  2. (in Greek and Latin epic poetry) a verse line of six metrical feet, of which the first four are usually dactyls or spondees, the fifth almost always a dactyl, and the sixth a spondee or trochee
Derived Formshexametric (ˌhɛksəˈmɛtrɪk), hexametral or hexametrical, adjective
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 hexameter

1540s, from Latin hexameter, from Greek hexametros, from hex "six" (see hexa-) + metron "meter" (see meter (n.2)). As a noun from 1570s. Related: Hexametric.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper