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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
blank verse
▪ Shakespeare's blank verse
▪ Coleridge had developed an apparently relaxed, but in fact extremely clever style of blank verse.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Blank verse

Verse \Verse\, n. [OE. vers, AS. fers, L. versus a line in writing, and, in poetry, a verse, from vertere, versum, to turn, to turn round; akin to E. worth to become: cf. F. vers. See Worth to become, and cf. Advertise, Averse, Controversy, Convert, Divers, Invert, Obverse, Prose, Suzerain, Vortex.]

  1. A line consisting of a certain number of metrical feet (see Foot, n., 9) disposed according to metrical rules.

    Note: Verses are of various kinds, as hexameter, pentameter, tetrameter, etc., according to the number of feet in each. A verse of twelve syllables is called an Alexandrine. Two or more verses form a stanza or strophe.

  2. Metrical arrangement and language; that which is composed in metrical form; versification; poetry.

    Such prompt eloquence Flowed from their lips in prose or numerous verse.

    Virtue was taught in verse.

    Verse embalms virtue.

  3. A short division of any composition. Specifically:

    1. A stanza; a stave; as, a hymn of four verses.

      Note: Although this use of verse is common, it is objectionable, because not always distinguishable from the stricter use in the sense of a line.

    2. (Script.) One of the short divisions of the chapters in the Old and New Testaments.

      Note: The author of the division of the Old Testament into verses is not ascertained. The New Testament was divided into verses by Robert Stephens [or Estienne], a French printer. This arrangement appeared for the first time in an edition printed at Geneva, in 1551.

    3. (Mus.) A portion of an anthem to be performed by a single voice to each part.

  4. A piece of poetry. ``This verse be thine.''

    Blank verse, poetry in which the lines do not end in rhymes.

    Heroic verse. See under Heroic.

Blank verse

Blank \Blank\, a. [OE. blank, blonc, blaunc, blaunche, fr. F. blanc, fem. blanche, fr. OHG. blanch shining, bright, white, G. blank; akin to E. blink, cf. also AS. blanc white. ?98. See Blink, and cf. 1st Blanch.]

  1. Of a white or pale color; without color.

    To the blank moon Her office they prescribed.

  2. Free from writing, printing, or marks; having an empty space to be filled in with some special writing; -- said of checks, official documents, etc.; as, blank paper; a blank check; a blank ballot.

  3. Utterly confounded or discomfited.

    Adam . . . astonied stood, and blank.

  4. Empty; void; without result; fruitless; as, a blank space; a blank day.

  5. Lacking characteristics which give variety; as, a blank desert; a blank wall; destitute of interests, affections, hopes, etc.; as, to live a blank existence; destitute of sensations; as, blank unconsciousness.

  6. Lacking animation and intelligence, or their associated characteristics, as expression of face, look, etc.; expressionless; vacant. ``Blank and horror-stricken faces.''
    --C. Kingsley.

    The blank . . . glance of a half returned consciousness.
    --G. Eliot.

  7. Absolute; downright; unmixed; as, blank terror.

    Blank bar (Law), a plea put in to oblige the plaintiff in an action of trespass to assign the certain place where the trespass was committed; -- called also common bar.

    Blank cartridge, a cartridge containing no ball.

    Blank deed. See Deed.

    Blank door, or Blank window (Arch.), a depression in a wall of the size of a door or window, either for symmetrical effect, or for the more convenient insertion of a door or window at a future time, should it be needed.

    Blank indorsement (Law), an indorsement which omits the name of the person in whose favor it is made; it is usually made by simply writing the name of the indorser on the back of the bill.

    Blank line (Print.), a vacant space of the breadth of a line, on a printed page; a line of quadrats.

    Blank tire (Mech.), a tire without a flange.

    Blank tooling. See Blind tooling, under Blind.

    Blank verse. See under Verse.

    Blank wall, a wall in which there is no opening; a dead wall.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
blank verse

1580s; the thing itself is attested in English poetry from mid-16c. and is classical in origin.

blank verse

n. A poetic form with regular meter, particularly iambic pentameter, but no fixed rhyme scheme.

blank verse

n. unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)

Blank verse

Blank verse is poetry written with regular metrical but unrhymed lines, almost always in iambic pentameter. It has been described as "probably the most common and influential form that English poetry has taken since the 16th century" and Paul Fussell has estimated that "about three-quarters of all English poetry is in blank verse."

The first documented use of blank verse in the English language was by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey in his translation of the Æneid (composed c. 1540; published 1554-1557). He was possibly inspired by the Latin original, as classical Latin verse (as well as Ancient Greek verse) did not use rhyme; or he may have been inspired by the Italian verse form of versi sciolti, which also contained no rhyme. The play Arden of Faversham (circa 1590 by an unknown author) is a notable example of end-stopped blank verse.

Usage examples of "blank verse".

He even begins to speak in blank verse instead of the usual prose.

In public lavatory cabinets, where privacy could be bought for a penny, he had planned a long autobiographical poem in blank verse, a sort of Prelude.