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[an-uh-kroo-sis] /ˌæn əˈkru sɪs/
noun, plural anacruses
[an-uh-kroo-seez] /ˌæn əˈkru siz/ (Show IPA)
Prosody. an unstressed syllable or syllable group that begins a line of verse but is not counted as part of the first foot.
Music. the note or notes preceding a downbeat; upbeat.
1825-35; < Latin < Greek anákrousis, equivalent to anakroú(ein) to strike up, push back (ana- ana- + kroúein to strike, push) + -sis -sis
Related forms
[an-uh-kruhs-tik] /ˌæn əˈkrʌs tɪk/ (Show IPA),
anacrustically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for anacrusis


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
(prosody) one or more unstressed syllables at the beginning of a line of verse
  1. an unstressed note or group of notes immediately preceding the strong first beat of the first bar
  2. another word for upbeat
Derived Forms
anacrustic (ˌænəˈkrʌstɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek anakrousis prelude, from anakrouein to strike up, from ana- + krouein to strike
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for anacrusis

"unstressed syllable at the beginning of a verse," 1833, Latinized from Greek anakrousis "a pushing back," of a ship, "backing water," from anakrouein "to push back, stop short, check," from ana- "back" (see ana-) + krouein "to strike," from PIE *kreue- (2) "to push, strike" (cf. Russian krusit, Lithuanian krusu "to smash, shatter," Old Church Slavonic kruchu "piece, bit of food," Old English hreowian "feel pain or sorrow," Old Norse hryggja "make sad").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for anacrusis

in classical prosody, the up (or weak) beat, one or more syllables at the beginning of a line of poetry that are not regarded as a part of the metrical pattern of that line. Some scholars do not acknowledge this phenomenon. The term is from the Greek anakrousis, meaning "the act of pushing back," or "beginning of a tune."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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