Definition of anapaest in English:


(US anapest)


  • A metrical foot consisting of two short or unstressed syllables followed by one long or stressed syllable.

    • ‘They seemed startled by the realization they could actually craft iamb, anapest, anapest, and have it come out a poem.’
    • ‘He thereby lends some countenance to Saintsbury's later mantra that what passes for English dactylics are in fact ‘tipped-up’ hypermetric anapests.’
    • ‘Then there's the verse, the galumphing iambs and anapests that pull you forward with the force of the Cat in the Hat leading you off a cliff.’
    • ‘Each mixes iambs and anapests in a particular way, yet each blends seamlessly with the others and helps to create a perfectly natural cadence.’
    • ‘Thus in the last stanza quoted, after the surge of anapaests in the first two lines, spondees, dactyls, and iambs begin to appear.’


Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek anapaistos reversed, from ana- back + paiein strike (because it is the reverse of a dactyl).