All 8 Metric Feet (unless anyone knows more...)

Posted by TheFallen on May 16, 2003

In Reply to: My English project! posted by ESC on May 16, 2003

: : I need help with a few definitions from my english project they are as follows:
: : stock character
: : character foils
: : shakespearean sonnet
: : iambic pentameter
: : trochaic hexameter
: : anapestic trimeter
: : dactylic tetrameter
: : one spondee

: : I would GREATLY appreciate it if anyone could help me iwth any of these. thank you soo much!!

: stock character - "Type of character seen in many films of the same genre, e.g., a security guard in a spy thriller, bartender in a Western, or wife of a police officer in a crime drama. Also called a standard character of off-the-shelf character." From the "Filmmaker's Dictionary" by Ralph S. Singleton and James A. Conrad, edited by Janna Wong Healy, (2nd edition, 2000, Lone Eagle Publishing Co., Hollywood, California).

: character foils - "A foil is a minor character in a literary work that complements the main character through similarities and differences in personality and situations throughout the plot."

: Shakespearean sonnet - "A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem usually in iambic pentameter with a specific rhyme scheme. (See also blank verse and iambic pentameter.) Sonnets frequently focus on the theme of love. While doing so, they also afford the poet an opportunity to show off his ability to write memorable lines. In other words, sonnets present the poet with a way to demonstrate the power of his genius in the same way that art exhibitions give painters a way to show off their special techniques."

: iambic pentameter - See

: trochaic hexameter - Trochee: (Pronounced 'Trow Key') This is a metrical feet or beat ('dum dee') where the stress comes first (instead of second as in the iamb). Hexameter

: (Pronounced 'Hex Ametre') Hexameter are lines that have six beats or metrical feet.


: anapestic trimeter - anapest: "A metrical foot of three syllables, two short (or unstressed) followed by one long (or stressed), as in seventeen and to the moon. The anapest is the reverse of the dactyl.

Trimeter: "three feet; sometimes termed tripody, a triple foot, one measure made up of three feet. An example is Percy Bysshe Shelley's 'To a Skylark,' which uses trochaic trimeters for the first two lines of each stanza."

: dactylic tetrameter - dactyl: "A metrical foot of three syllables, one long (or stressed) followed by two short (or unstressed), as in happily. The dactyl is the reverse of the anapest." tetrameter : "A line of poetry that has four metrical feet."


: one spondee - Spondee is "spondee" is "A metrical foot of two syllables, both of which are long (or stressed)." From ipa/A0903237.html Accessed May 15, 2003.

: A good site with examples and more details about poetic terms is glossary.html The site includes the following:


: Metrical feet are made up of stressed and unstressed syllables. The stresses make up a poem's beat or pulse. When people describe a poem's metre they usually use two words, for example 'iambic pentameter', trochaic hexameter, iambic tetrameter. The first word comes from the position of the stresses (to work this out read the lines aloud, exagerrating the stressed syllables slightly and listen for any pattern):

: iambic - dee dum. Commonly used.

: trochaic - dum dee. Quite commonly used.

: anapaestic - dee dee dum. Usually substituted for iambs.

: dactylic - dum dee dee. Usually substituted for trochees.

: spondaic - dum dum or dee dee. Not commonly used.

: The second word in descriptions of metre come from the number of feet in each line:

: dimeters - two feet each line.

: trimeters - three feet each line.

: tetrameters - four feet each line.

: pentameters - five feet each line.

: hexameters - six feet each line.

: heptameters - seven feet each line.

: octameters - eight feet each line.

To add to (and fractionally to correct) the excellent information provided by ESC, and for the sake of completeness, there are three other metrical feet, which fortunately are almost never used in English verse. Complete list as follows - the format being noun (adjective), and as above, "dee" for a short or unstressed syllable, and "DUM" for a long or stressed syllable.

iamb (iambic) - dee DUM. (As above - last beat of two stressed)

trochee (trochaic) - DUM dee.(As above - first beat of two stressed)

anap(a)est (anap(a)estic - dee dee DUM. (As above - last beat of three stressed)

dactyl (dactylic) - DUM dee dee. (As above - first beat of three stressed)

spondee (spondaic) - DUM DUM. (BOTH beats of two stressed)

pyrrhic (pyrrhic) - dee dee. (NEITHER beat of two stressed)

amphibrach (amphibrachic) - dee DUM dee. (Middle beat of three stressed)

Amphimacer (amphimaceric??) - DUM dee DUM. (First and last beats of three stressed)