Definition of sprung rhythm in English:

sprung rhythm


mass noun
  • A poetic metre approximating to speech, each foot having one stressed syllable followed by a varying number of unstressed ones.

    • ‘In referring to the music he says in a letter of June 1880: ‘I wish I could pursue music; for I have invented a new style, something standing to ordinary music as sprung rhythm to common rhythm: it employs quarter tones.’’
    • ‘Hopkins says this sonnet is in sprung rhythm with ‘a rest of one stress in the first line.’’
    • ‘His translations are unrhymed, elegant, and lucid; his use of stressed and unstressed syllables had, he believed, something in common with G. M. Hopkins's sprung rhythm.’
    • ‘‘The Valentine's Day’ uses sprung rhythm and alliteration much in the manner of Gerard Manley Hopkins, although he is not Kimmelman's primary model.’


Late 19th century: coined by G. M. Hopkins, who used the metre.