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Word of the Day
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Definitions for cheville

  1. Prosody. a word or expression whose only function is to fill a metrical gap in a verse or to balance a sentence.

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Citations for cheville
The languages were by this time close enough to each other to make this easy, and when there was any difficulty it scarce required the wit of a Chaucer to supply such a cheville as "An emperesse or crowned queen" ... (though it may be observed that "crowned" is a distinct improvement to the sound, if not to the sense of the line) ... George Saintsbury, A History of English Prosody, Volume I, 1906
But when we discover that ... the word "Sparte" has been dragged in at any cost for the rhyme's sake, we feel that a cheville, like some other concessions to the intractable nature of things, is least offensive when it asks for no admiration. Frederic William Henry Myers, "Victor Hugo," Essays, Modern, 1883
Origin of cheville
1880-1885
Cheville represents the normal northern French phonetic development of Latin clāvīcula “key, tendril, pivot,” a diminutive of clāvis “key, bar, hook.” In French cheville means “ankle, peg, dowel, pin, plug.” It is this latter sense "plug" that gave rise to the English meaning of a filler word or phrase in a sentence or line of verse. Clāvis derives from the Proto-Indo-European root klēu-, klāu- “hook, peg,” the same source of the very many Greek forms, e.g., kleís, klēī́s, klāī́s (all from assumed klāwis, identical to the Latin noun), Celtic (Old Irish) clō “nail,” Baltic (Lithuanian) kliū́ti “to hang, hang on,” and Slavic (Polish) klucz “key.” Cheville entered English in the 19th century.