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Origin of verse

First recorded before 900; Middle English vers(e), fers “line of poetry, section of a psalm,” from Old French vers, Anglo-French verse, veers, and Old English fers, færs, fyrs, from Latin versus “a row, line (of poetry),” literally, “a turning,” equivalent to vert(ere), “to turn” (past participle versus; akin to -ward, worth2

synonym study for verse

1. Verse, stanza, strophe, stave are terms for a metrical grouping in poetic composition. Verse is often mistakenly used for stanza, but is properly only a single metrical line. A stanza is a succession of lines (verses) commonly bound together by a rhyme scheme, and usually forming one of a series of similar groups that constitute a poem: The four-line stanza is the one most frequently used in English. Strophe (originally the section of a Greek choral ode sung while the chorus was moving from right to left) is in English poetry practically equivalent to “section”; a strophe may be unrhymed or without strict form, but may be a stanza: Strophes are divisions of odes. Stave is a word (now seldom used) that means a stanza set to music or intended to be sung: a stave of a hymn; a stave of a drinking song. 4-6. See poetry.


un·der·verse, noun


verses , versus

Other definitions for verse (2 of 3)

[ vurs ]
/ vɜrs /

verb (used with object)
Slang. to play against; be the opponent of, as in a game or match: Want to verse me in this new RPG?We lost against the Wildcats when we versed them a couple of days ago.

Origin of verse

An Americanism dating back to 1980–85; shortening of versus

Other definitions for verse (3 of 3)


a combining form extracted from universe, occurring as the final element in compounds with the sense “in the sphere or realm of”: Chaos is erupting in the Twitterverse right now.We try to stick with using the Linuxverse on our computers.A new publisher is big news in the writerverse.
a combining form extracted from universe, used in forming names for a fictional world associated with a particular media franchise: the Whoniverse of Doctor Who;the BTTF-verse of Back to the Future;the Vorkosiverse of the Vorkosigan Saga.

Origin of -verse

First recorded in 1980–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use verse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for verse

/ (vɜːs) /

a rare word for versify

Word Origin for verse

Old English vers, from Latin versus a furrow, literally: a turning (of the plough), from vertere to turn
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

Cultural definitions for verse


A kind of language made intentionally different from ordinary speech or prose. It usually employs devices such as meter and rhyme, though not always. Free verse, for example, has neither meter nor rhyme. Verse is usually considered a broader category than poetry, with the latter being reserved to mean verse that is serious and genuinely artistic.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with verse


see chapter and verse.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.