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[ahr-sis] /ˈɑr sɪs/
noun, plural arses
[ahr-seez] /ˈɑr siz/ (Show IPA)
Music. the upward stroke in conducting; upbeat.
Compare thesis (def 4).
  1. the part of a metrical foot that bears the ictus or stress.
  2. (less commonly) a part of a metrical foot that does not bear the ictus.
    Compare thesis (def 5).
Origin of arsis
1350-1400; Middle English: raising the voice < Latin < Greek, equivalent to ar- (stem of aírein to raise, lift) + -sis -sis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for arsis
Historical Examples
  • Of the whole number, nine begin on the full bar, eleven on the arsis.

    The Central Eskimo Franz Boas
  • With arsis monosyllabic, the strong tendency is to make the thesis short.

    English Verse Raymond MacDonald Alden, Ph.D.
  • The syllable which receives the ictus is called the thesis; the rest of the foot is called the arsis.

    New Latin Grammar Charles E. Bennett
  • All of these unaccented syllables are reckoned together as one thesis, as against the accented syllable or arsis.

  • Examples of resolution of the first arsis are very numerous, cninga wldor El.

  • Examples of the resolution of the second arsis are less numerous, as wldor cninge El.

  • The sub-type A3 is type A with alliteration on the second arsis only and is limited almost entirely to the first hemistich.

  • A strengthened thesis occurs only after the second arsis; this sub-type might therefore be designated A3b.

  • When however it does occur, one of the three conditions under which a final syllable can take an arsis must accompany it.

    The English Language Robert Gordon Latham
  • The chief variations arise from resolution of the first arsis, cning lmhtig El.

British Dictionary definitions for arsis


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
(in classical prosody) the long syllable or part on which the ictus falls in a metrical foot Compare thesis (sense 6)
Word Origin
C18: via Late Latin from Greek, from airein to raise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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