Word of the Day

Saturday, July 30, 2005

caesura

\sih-ZHUR-uh; -ZUR-\ , noun;
plural caesuras or caesurae \sih-ZHUR-ee; -ZUR-ee\
1.
A break or pause in a line of verse, usually occurring in the middle of a line, and indicated in scanning by a double vertical line; for example, "The proper study || of mankind is man" [Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man].
2.
Any break, pause, or interruption.
Quotes:
After an inconclusive day spent discussing the caesura of "Sonnet"'s opening line, Luke and his colleagues went for cocktails at Strabismus.
-- Martin Amis, Heavy Water and Other Stories
The crucial event of the Robedaux family occurs offscreen, in a narrative caesura between the film's two "acts."
-- Richard Corliss, "The Patter of Little Footes", Time, May 13, 1985
Say her name today in the right circles and you'll notice a sudden intake of breath, a caesura of pure awe.
-- Michael Dirda, "In which our intrepid columnist visits the Modern Language Association convention and reflects on what he found there", Washington Post, January 28, 2001
During the historical caesura between the total destruction of Aquileia and the seventh-century foundation of the city of Heraclea as the first political capital of the second Venice, the refugees lived on Grado and the other islands, just as Cassiodorus had seen them: humbly, simply, and by the toil of their hands.
-- Patricia Fortini Brown, Venice and Antiquity
Origin:
Caesura comes from Latin caesura, "a cutting off, a division, a stop," from the past participle of caedere, "to cut."
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