foot

Foot (Poetic)

Foot (Poetic) – The foot is the basic unit of rhythm in poetry, notated with mark indicating whether each syllable of the foot is stressed (accented, emphasized; notated with the macron: ¯ ) or unstressed (unaccented, not emphasized; notated with the breve: ˘ ). A foot can consist of one or more words. Here are the most important poetic feet, in English:

  • Trochee - STRESSED unstressed: “DOU ble, KING dom, BUBB le, DY ing, EM ber”
  • Iamb – unstressed STRESSED: “com PARE, a TTEMPT, in FACT, my HORSE.” Shakespeare composed in blank verse, whose meter is iambic pentameter (five feet, each being an iamb)
  • Dactyl – STRESSED unstressed unstressed: “A no ther, DI vis ion, IN ter net, A ni mate, EX ter nal”
  • Anapest – unstressed unstressed STRESSED: “twas the NIGHT, on the SEA, when the BLUE.” The anapest is often comic, in English poetry, and was employed by Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, and Dr. Seuss
  • Spondee – STRESSED STRESSED: “CLUB FOOT, WELL-LOVED, MAKE MILD, BLOOD CREEPS, PRAISE HIM”
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