One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable between two unstressed syllables or (in Greek and Latin) a long syllable between two short syllables.
- ‘Outside the limerick form, amphibrachs used to be quite rare in English language verse.’
- ‘Sometimes, to relieve the monotony, she threw in a four-, six- or even seven-foot line, and her ‘dactyls’ are often amphibrachs or anapaests.’
- ‘Yet trochees are actually in a minority here: the first and third line of each stanza is composed of a trochee and two iambs, while the second and fourth are composed of a trochee and an amphibrach.’
- ‘It seemed the answer was not strict anapests or dactyls or even amphibrachs but a looser sense of the line altogether, with room to gallop and stop short at will.’
- ‘I could of course say that it was an iamb followed by an amphibrach; honestly, I'm not assuming very much at all about how these metrical forms are represented.’
Late 16th century (originally in the Latin forms amphibrachus, amphibrachys): via Latin from Greek amphibrakhus ‘short at both ends’.
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