• synonyms


  1. a line of verse consisting of five metrical feet.
  2. Also called elegiac pentameter. Classical Prosody. a verse consisting of two dactyls, one long syllable, two more dactyls, and another long syllable.
  3. unrhymed verse of five iambic feet; heroic verse.
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  1. consisting of five metrical feet.
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Origin of pentameter

1540–50; < Latin pentametrus < Greek pentámetros. See penta-, meter2
Related formspen·tam·e·trist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pentameter

Historical Examples of pentameter

  • It is either hexameter or pentameter, according to the scansion?

    Notes and Queries, Number 204, September 24, 1853


  • The subject of transit must be Olympias, since otherwise the pentameter is without a subject.

  • For the quadrisyllable ending to the pentameter, see at ii 10 Alcinoo (p 164).

  • The error was induced by nec at the start of the pentameter.

  • The more natural abest absitque cannot be placed in a pentameter.

British Dictionary definitions for pentameter


  1. a verse line consisting of five metrical feet
  2. (in classical prosody) a verse line consisting of two dactyls, one stressed syllable, two dactyls, and a final stressed syllable
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  1. designating a verse line consisting of five metrical feet
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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 pentameter


1540s, from Middle French pentametre, from Latin pentameter, from Greek pentametros (adj.) "having five measures," from pente "five" (see five) + metron "meter" (see meter (n.2)). As a noun from 1580s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper