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c.1600, from Greek strophe "stanza," originally "a turning," in reference to the section of an ode sung by the chorus while turning in one direction, from strephein "to turn," from PIE *strebh- "to wind, turn" (cf. Greek strophaligs "whirl, whirlwind," streblos "twisted").
in poetry, a group of verses that form a distinct unit within a poem. The term is sometimes used as a synonym for stanza, usually in reference to a Pindaric ode or to a poem that does not have a regular metre and rhyme pattern, such as free verse. In ancient Greek drama the strophe was the first part of a choral ode that was performed by the chorus while it moved from one side of the stage to the other. The strophe was followed by an antistrophe of the same metrical structure (performed while the chorus reversed its movement) and then by an epode of different structure that was chanted as the chorus stood still.