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[hek-sam-i-ter] /hɛkˈsæm ɪ tər/ Prosody
a dactylic line of six feet, as in Greek and Latin epic poetry, in which the first four feet are dactyls or spondees, the fifth is ordinarily a dactyl, and the last is a trochee or spondee, with a caesura usually following the long syllable in the third foot.
any line of verse in six feet, as in English poetry.
consisting of six metrical feet.
1540-50; < Latin < Greek hexámetros of six measures, equivalent to hexa- hexa- + métr(on) measure + -os adj. suffix
Related forms
[hek-suh-me-trik] /ˌhɛk səˈmɛ trɪk/ (Show IPA),
hexametrical, hexametral, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for hexameter


noun (prosody)
a verse line consisting of six metrical feet
(in Greek and Latin epic poetry) a verse line of six metrical feet, of which the first four are usually dactyls or spondees, the fifth almost always a dactyl, and the sixth a spondee or trochee
Derived Forms
hexametric (ˌhɛksəˈmɛtrɪk), hexametral, hexametrical, adjective
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 hexameter

1540s, from Latin hexameter, from Greek hexametros, from hex "six" (see hexa-) + metron "meter" (see meter (n.2)). As a noun from 1570s. Related: Hexametric.

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

a line of verse containing six feet, usually dactyls (' ). Dactylic hexameter is the oldest known form of Greek poetry and is the preeminent metre of narrative and didactic poetry in Greek and Latin, in which its position is comparable to that of iambic pentameter in English versification. The epics of Homer and of Virgil are composed in dactylic hexameter. Although the hexameter has been used in English verse by such 19th-century poets as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (notably in Evangeline), its rhythms are not readily adapted to the language, and it has never been a popular form

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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