Definition of alexandrine in English:



  • (of a line of verse) having six iambic feet.

    • ‘There are lots of interpolated stories here; there are episodes written in alexandrine verse; and there are enough characters to satisfy even the most hardened devotee of the serial genre.’
    • ‘The polymath Anthony Burgess was on hand to supply the English subtitles, preserving the dialogue's alexandrine form.’
    • ‘His poetic emblem books in particular, written in alexandrine verse and with a moralizing tone, brought him international renown.’
    • ‘His earlier work tends to be written in traditional rhymed quatrains but, as he matured, he dropped the rhymes and worked in a freer but still basically alexandrine movement.’
    • ‘Racine wrote the play in Alexandrine verse.’


usually alexandrines
  • An alexandrine line.

    • ‘Bénabou's list has 260 alexandrines, each one divided into hemistichs and printed in two columns.’
    • ‘Valery adheres to a rhythm of alexandrines in stanza five, yet the lines do not progress in an even manner.’
    • ‘The chief of the romances concerning him are the great French Roman d' Alexandre of the 12th century, of some 20,000 alexandrines, and the English King Alisaunder of the early 14th century, 8,000 octosyllabic verses.’
    • ‘Julius Caesar, which Voltaire reworked in alexandrines, amplifies the patriotic and republican spirit of the Roman Emperor.’
    • ‘Queneau's Petite Cosmogonie portative, for example, is treated as an example of an Oulipian text although it predates the Oulipo, because it is written in alexandrines.’


Late 16th century: from French alexandrin, from Alexandre (see Alexander), the subject of an Old French poem in this metre.