Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The continuation of a syntactic unit from one line or couplet of a poem to the next with no pause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A technique in poetry whereby a sentence is carried over to the next line without pause.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the continuation of a syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause

Etymologies

French enjambement, from Old French enjamber, to straddle : en-, causative pref.; see en-1 + jambe, leg; see jamb.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French enjambement. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Both poems are written in free verse and make ready use of what is called enjambment, that is, the abrupt continuation of a sentence from one line into the next.

    Deconstructing Obama

  • With its misty sentiment and odd word enjambment, that first lyric casts its shadow across all 44 minutes of the record.

    Going Ape Over Gibbons; But Not Willie's Weak Guests

  • It reminded me of the concept in poetry of "enjambment" where the implied silence at the ends of lines can be crafted to carry meanings that nuance, augment, or contradict readings that obey the conventions of punctuation.

    SWEATblog: Incompleteness

  • There’s regular enjambment, which is part of traditional poetry and is almost always a bad idea, but especially in sonnets—and then there’s what’s known as ultra-extreme enjambment.

    THE ANTHOLOGIST

  • So the flaring grandeur gathers, and in one of the most illogical but nevertheless satisfying descriptions, he makes another parallel simile and with the stretching effect of an enjambment, reaches out to crush.

    God’s Grandeur « Unknowing

  • Mr. Mehrotra's cunning deployment of enjambment—the breaking of a phrase or sentence across a poetic line—propels us from one line to the next, re-enacting, in the four-line opening sentence, the way the mind pieces together the meaning of the world from the messages of the senses, before knocking it out with the clean, flat declaration of the line that follows.

    When Mysticism Came Down to Earth

  • Neither actor used "poetry voice," and both actors honored enjambment and privileged sense over rhythm.

    Love Is My Sin

  • Whatever you do, it's just an enjambment of your stanza.

    The Blocked Toxin

  • Their hushed melodic instrumentation pulls you in and pushes you through a current of audio samples, lingering guitar riffs and melodic enjambment (much of which is accompanied by actual samples of the ocean).

    Angora Holly Polo: The Problem of Leisure: Special UMS 2010 Edition

  • Jim Murdoch presents Do you break, jam or snip? posted at The Truth About Lies, saying, A discussion of different approaches to enjambment.

    Creative Carnival – July 2008 « Write Anything

Comments

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  • Oui, d'accord. It will feel less ill at ease in the august company of the likes of zeugma and properispomenon if it looks imposingly foreign.

    December 8, 2007

  • Thanks VO, that's interesting, but I still think I will stick with the French enjambement. I don't think I can bring myself to say en-JAMB-ment.

    December 8, 2007

  • That's also what I remember from secondary school only a few years ago.

    dictionary.reference.com/browse/enjambment cites the Online Etymology Dictionary: '1837, from enjamb (1600), from Fr. enjamber "to stride over," from jambe "leg."' If that's correct then the terminal e was dropped from the verb before the noun was coined in English, and the French form developed separately.

    December 8, 2007

  • When was this word anglicized? When I was in college in the 1970s, I am sure it was always spelled enjambement and pronounced as a French word, with three nasal vowels and zh for the j - which made it fun saying, of course.

    December 7, 2007

  • Oh, I almost forgot how much I like this word!

    April 27, 2007