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poulter's measure

[pohl-terz] /ˈpoʊl tərz/
noun, Prosody
1.
a metrical pattern using couplets having the first line in iambic hexameter, or 12 syllables, and the second in iambic heptameter, or 14 syllables.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; so called because poulters (see poulterer) used to give extra eggs when counting by the dozen
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for poulter-measure

poulter's measure

a metre in which lines of 12 and 14 syllables alternate. Poulter is an obsolete variant of poulterer (poultry dealer); poulterers traditionally gave one or two extra eggs when selling by the dozen.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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