Definition of hemistich in English:



  • (chiefly in Old English verse) a half of a line of verse.

    • ‘The point of his entire speech seems to be summed up in the first hemistich of line 279.’
    • ‘The column is divided into hemistichs justified at the outer edges.’
    • ‘Bénabou joins the first hemistich of each line to the second of another: the first alexandrine thus selected is the opening line of Rimbaud's ‘Bateau ivre’.’
    • ‘While the stress count in each hemistich ranges from one to three (with the exception of the line in bold-face) there is no dominant foot or syllabic pattern.’


Late 16th century: via late Latin from Greek hēmistikhion, from hēmi- half + stikhos row, line of verse.