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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hexameter \Hex*am"e*ter\, n. [L., fr. Gr. ? of six meters; (sc. ?) hexameter verse; "e`x six + ? measure: cf. F. hexam[`e]tre. See Six, and Meter.] (Gr. & Lat. Pros.) 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 [AE]neid of Virgil. In English hexameters accent takes the place of quantity.

Leaped like the | roe when he | hears in the | woodland the | voice of the | huntsman.

Strongly it | bears us a- | long on | swelling and | limitless | billows, Nothing be- | fore and | nothing be- | hind but the | sky and the | ocean.


Hexameter \Hex*am"e*ter\, a. Having six metrical feet, especially dactyls and spondees.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1540s, from Latin hexameter, from Greek hexametros, from hex "six" (see hexa-) + metron "meter" (see meter (n.2)). As a noun from 1570s. Related: Hexametric.


n. 1 (context countable English) a line in a poem having six metrical feet 2 (context uncountable English) a poetic metre in which each line has six feet


n. a verse line having six metrical feet


Hexameter is a metrical line of verses consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and the Hymns of Orpheus. According to Greek mythology, hexameter was invented by the god Hermes. __TOC__

Usage examples of "hexameter".

They form a very poor Latin hexameter, which the great historian certainly never made on purpose, and which he never remarked when he revised his work, for there is no doubt that, if he had observed it, he would have altered that sentence.

This dictates their form, as verse, in this case dactylic hexameter: the stichic, or line-by-line, verse form as common to Greek and Latin epic as iambic pentameter is to English.

They have their characters start mouthing trochaic hexameters, or spewing mouthfuls of classical allusions, or talking in formal riddles or paradigms.

This procedure, resembling as it does the trope of zeugma, gives the effect of reducing diverse things to unity, eliminating particulars for generalities, just as the final two feet of the hexameter, the dactyl and the final firm spondee, cut across the grammatical and word divisions to punctuate the shifting cadences of the first four feet.

And Furvain, glancing for just a moment into his wine-bowl as though some poem might be lurking there, would draw a deep breath and instantaneously begin to recite a mock epic, in neatly balanced hexameter and the most elaborate of anapestic rhythms, about the desperate craving of a Pontifex for sausage made of steetmoy meat, and the sending of the laziest and most cowardly of the royal courtiers on a hunting expedition to the snowbound lair of that ferocious white-furred creature of northern Zimroel.

He wrote perhaps two and a half centuries after Homer but in his style: a poem in dactylic hexameter, brief where the epics are long, having as its hero the writer, where the Homeric epics are anonymous.

Or put it, that Port is the Homeric hexameter, Burgundy the pindaric dithyramb.

Before his twenty-fifth birthday he has written: Ten books of lyrics, panegyrics, and pastorals, mostly in hexameters but also some hendeca-syllabics and many Sapphics, Alcaics.

Emily or any of the scouts of expressing their feelings in Virgilian hexameters.

Was she an helpmeet for a black-letter man, who talked with the Fathers in his daily walks, could extemporise Latin hexameters, and dream in Greek.

I am striving to beat Latin hexameters into the thick skulls of a dozen boys?

Homeric hexameters, but the name which figured in almost every line made it more moving for me than many a masterpiece.

I have read a translation in Latin hexameters so well done that I fancied I was reading Virgil.