Definitions

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

  • n. A line of verse consisting of six metrical feet.
  • n. In classical prosody, a line in which the first four feet are either dactylic or spondaic, the fifth dactylic, and the sixth spondaic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a line in a poem having six metrical feet
  • n. a poetic metre in which each line has six feet

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A verse of six feet, the first four of which may be either dactyls or spondees, the fifth must regularly be a dactyl, and the sixth always a spondee. In this species of verse are composed the Iliad of Homer and the Æneid of Virgil. In English hexameters accent takes the place of quantity.
  • adj. Having six metrical feet, especially dactyls and spondees.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In prosody, containing or consisting of six measures; having a length of six feet or six dipodies; especially, composed of six feet, of which the first four are dactyls or spondees, the fifth ordinarily a dactyl, sometimes a spondee, and the last a spondee or trochee: as, a hexameter line, verse, or period.
  • n. In prosody, a period, line, or verse consisting of six measures.

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

  • n. a verse line having six metrical feet

Etymologies

Latin, from Greek hexametros, having six metrical feet : hexa-, hexa- + metron, meter; see meter1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἑξάμετρος. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I had toyed with writing a response in hexameter verse, but that would have been pushing it, no?

    MIND MELD: The Best Genre Related Books/Films/Shows/Games Consumed In 2008 (Part III)

  • As European students learnt Latin, they learnt how to translate Virgil and Homer, how to write imitation verses and how to write in hexameter and with rhyme.

    Starting the Young : Kwame Dawes : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • I have, accordingly, ventured to elicit the end of a hexameter from the Greek letters of the MS., of which no satisfactory account has been given, and to read _Itaque dixit statim "respublica lege maiestatis_ οὐ σοί κεν ἄρ 'ἶσα μ' ἀφείη (or ἀφιῇ)."

    The Letters of Cicero, Volume 1 The Whole Extant Correspodence in Chronological Order

  • He followed her to Switzerland one summer, and all the time that he was dangling after her (a little too conspicuously, I always thought, for a Great Man), he was writing to me about his theory of vowel-combinations -- or was it his experi - ments in English hexameter?

    The Muse's Tragedy

  • Well might Egbert be proud of his librarian: the first, I believe upon record, who has composed a catalogue [234] of books in Latin hexameter verse: and full reluctantly, I ween, did this librarian take leave of his _Cell_ stored with the choicest volumes -- as we may judge from his pathetic address to it, on quitting England for France!

    Bibliomania; or Book-Madness A Bibliographical Romance

  • The poems of Homer have the most perfect metre, the hexameter, which is also called heroic.

    Essays and Miscellanies

  • It is called hexameter because each line has six feet: one of these is of two long syllables, called spondee; the other, of three syllables, one long and two short, which is called dactyl.

    Essays and Miscellanies

  • In vi. 65 he apologizes for using the pure hexameter, which is found only four times.

    The Student's Companion to Latin Authors

  • This Latin hexameter, which is commonly ascribed to Horace, appeared for the first time as an epigraph to President Hénault’s “Abrégé Chronologique, ” and in the preface to the third edition of this work Hénault acknowledges that he had given it as a translation of this couplet.

    Quotations

  • This metre, which from its popularity must be termed the hexameter of the Irish, is named Deibhidhe (D'yevvee), and well shows in the last two lines the internal rhyme to which we refer.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8: Infamy-Lapparent

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