- Foot (prosody)
The foot is the basic metrical unit that generates a line of verse in most Western traditions of poetry, including English accentual-syllabic verse and the quantitative meter of classical ancient Greek and Latin poetry. The unit is composed of syllables, the number of which is limited, with a few variations, by the sound pattern the foot represents. The most common feet in English are the iamb, trochee, dactyl, and anapest.
The English word "foot" is a translation of the Latin term pes, plural pedes; the equivalent term in Greek, sometimes used in English as well, is metron, plural metra, which means "measure." The foot might be compared to a measure in musical notation.
The foot is a purely metrical unit; there is no inherent relation to a word or phrase as a unit of meaning or syntax, though the interplay among these is an aspect of the individual poet's skill and artistry.
The poetic feet in classical meter
Below are listed the names given to the poetic feet by classical metrics. The feet are classified first by the number of syllables in the foot (disyllables have two, trisyllables three, and tetrasyllables four) and secondarily by the pattern of vowel lengths (in classical languages) or syllable stresses (in English poetry) which they comprise.
The following lists describe the feet in terms of vowel length (as in classical languages). Translated into syllable stresses (as in English poetry), 'long' becomes 'stressed' ('accented'), and 'short' becomes 'unstressed' ('unaccented'). For example, an iamb, which is short-long in classical meter, becomes unstressed-stressed, as in the English word "betray."
¯ = long syllable, ˘ = short syllable (macron and breve notation)
˘ ˘ pyrrhus, dibrach ˘ ¯ iamb ¯ ˘ trochee, choree (or choreus) ¯ ¯ spondee
˘ ˘ ˘ tribrach ¯ ˘ ˘ dactyl ˘ ¯ ˘ amphibrach ˘ ˘ ¯ anapest, antidactylus ˘ ¯ ¯ bacchius ¯ ¯ ˘ antibacchius ¯ ˘ ¯ cretic, amphimacer ¯ ¯ ¯ molossus
˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ tetrabrach, proceleusmatic ¯ ˘ ˘ ˘ primus paeon ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ secundus paeon ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ tertius paeon ˘ ˘ ˘ ¯ quartus paeon ¯ ¯ ˘ ˘ major ionic, double trochee ˘ ˘ ¯ ¯ minor ionic, double iamb ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ditrochee ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ diiamb ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ choriamb ˘ ¯ ¯ ˘ antispast ˘ ¯ ¯ ¯ first epitrite ¯ ˘ ¯ ¯ second epitrite ¯ ¯ ˘ ¯ third epitrite ¯ ¯ ¯ ˘ fourth epitrite ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ dispondee
Timing Tone Stress Length Prosody
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prosody — prosodic /preuh sod ik/, prosodical, adj. /pros euh dee/, n. 1. the science or study of poetic meters and versification. 2. a particular or distinctive system of metrics and versification: Milton s prosody. 3. Ling. the stress and intonation… … Universalium
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foot — n. & v. n. (pl. feet) 1 a the lower extremity of the leg below the ankle. b the part of a sock etc. covering the foot. 2 a the lower or lowest part of anything, e.g. a mountain, a page, stairs, etc. b the lower end of a table. c the end of a bed… … Useful english dictionary
foot — noun (plural feet fi:t) 1》 the lower extremity of the leg below the ankle, on which a person or animal stands or walks. ↘literary manner or speed of walking or running: fleet of foot. ↘[treated as plural] Brit. infantry; foot soldiers. 2》 … English new terms dictionary
foot, metrical — Basic unit of verse metre. Any of various fixed combinations or groups of stressed and unstressed (or long and short) syllables comprise a foot. The prevailing kind and number of feet determines the metre of a poem. The most common feet in… … Universalium
Metric foot — For the poetical term, see foot (prosody). A metric foot is a nickname occasionally used in the United Kingdom for a length of 300 millimetres (30 cm). A metric foot can be divided into twelve metric inches of 25 millimetres (2.5 cm)… … Wikipedia
ionic foot — ▪ prosody in prosody, a foot of verse that consists of either two long and two short syllables (also called major ionic or a maiore) or two short and two long syllables (also called minor ionic or a minore). * * * … Universalium