One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A metrical foot consisting of two short or unstressed syllables followed by one long or stressed syllable.
- ‘Thus in the last stanza quoted, after the surge of anapaests in the first two lines, spondees, dactyls, and iambs begin to appear.’
- ‘They seemed startled by the realization they could actually craft iamb, anapest, anapest, and have it come out a poem.’
- ‘Each mixes iambs and anapests in a particular way, yet each blends seamlessly with the others and helps to create a perfectly natural cadence.’
- ‘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.’
Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek anapaistos ‘reversed’, from ana- ‘back’ + paiein ‘strike’ (because it is the reverse of a dactyl).
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