Poetry: Meter

Foot
the basic unit of measurement in metrical poetry. Each separate meter is identified by the pattern and order of stressed and unstressed syllables in its foot.

Iamb
A metrical foot in verse in which an unaccented syllable is followed by an accented one. The iambic measure is the most common meter used in English poetry.

Iambic pentameter
The most common meter in English verse, five iambic feet per line. Many fixed forms, such as the sonnet and heroic couplets, employ iambic pentameter.

Anapest
a metrical foot in verse in which two unstressed syllables are followed by a stressed syllable.

Trochee
A metrical foot in which a stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed one.

Dactyl
a metrical foot in which one stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed ones. Dactylic meter is less common in English than in classical Greek and Latin.

Spondee
A metrical foot of verse consisting of two stressed syllables.

Accentual meter
verse meter based on the number of stresses per line, not the number of syllables.

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