• WordNet 3.6
    • n hexameter a verse line having six metrical feet
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Hexameter (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 Æneid 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."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • hexameter 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 hexameter In prosody, a period, line, or verse consisting of six measures. In books on modern versification, the “measure” and “foot” being ordinarily assumed to be identical, the word hexameter is used as precisely equivalent to hexapody; but according to the nomenclature of classical metrics, a hexameter is a group of six feet only in those classes of feet which are measured by single feet (monopodies). Since iambi, trochees, and anapests are measured by dipodies, an iambic, trochaic, or anapestic hexameter would be a group of twelve feet, a group of six such feet being a trimeter. The name hexameter is given by preëminence to the dactylic hexameter, also called the heroic or epic hexameter, or heroic or epic verse, from its use in Greek and Roman epic poetry from the earliest to the latest period. It is a compound verse consisting of two cola or members, either both of three feet or one of two feet and one of four feet. The heroic hexameter never consists of six dactyls, the last foot being always a spondee , or, as the last syllable of a period may always be either long or short, a trochee as a substitute for a spondee. Some authorities have regarded this meter as catalectic, so that the last foot would be a trochee by omission of the last syllable of the dactyl, or a spondee for the trochee. The fifth foot is rarely a spondee, but a spondee can always be used instead of a dactyl in any of the first four places. The ordinary form of the hexameter is accordingly . A verse with a spondee as fifth foot is said to be spondaic, one consisting entirely of spondees holospondaic, and one entirely (except the last foot) of dactyls holodactylic. The principal cesuras are the trochaic of the third foot, the penthemimeral, and the hephthemimeral; besides which the bucolic cesura or dieresis and the trithemimeral cesura are to be noted. See cesura.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Hexameter hek-sam′et-ėr a verse of six measures or feet, the first four dactyls or spondees, the fifth a dactyl (sometimes a spondee), the sixth a spondee or trochee
    • adj Hexameter having six metrical feet
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L., fr. Gr. of six meters; (sc. ) hexameter verse; "e`x six + measure: cf. F. hexamètre,. See Six, and Meter


In literature:

He has also licked that jaw-cracking tongue so far into shape, that it serves for regular hexameters.
"The International Magazine, Volume 2, No. 2, January, 1851" by Various
A FIRST VERSE BOOK; being an easy Introduction to the Mechanism of the Latin Hexameter and Pentameter.
"Notes and Queries, Number 183, April 30, 1853" by Various
For he had heard the Magister rail against matrimony in Latin hexameters and doggerel Greek.
"The Fifth Queen Crowned" by Ford Madox Ford
He thought the years which had already been wasted on hexameters and pentameters quite sufficient.
"Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3)" by Thomas Babington Macaulay
This was writing Latin hexameters.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845" by Various
She is said to have been the inventress of hexameters.
"The Phantom World" by Augustin Calmet
The verses which boys are commonly taught to make are hexameters and pentameters.
"The Comic Latin Grammar" by Percival Leigh
He had begun to translate it into hexameters, but he feared that he would never live to finish it.
"In a Little Town" by Rupert Hughes
Homer possibly had no choice; but in the hexameter there is the greatest versative power.
"Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 366, April, 1846" by Various
Glory to the hexameter!
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 57, No. 352, February 1845" by Various

In poetry:

We now,--this splendid scene before us spread
Where Freedom's full hexameter began--
Restore our Epic, which the Nations read
As far its thunders ran.
"Arms And The Man - Prologue" by James Barron Hope
Loud roared the storm! The rattling thunders rang!
Against the blast his rowers could not row!
White waves like hoary-headed Homers sang
Hexameters of woe.
"Arms And The Man - The Beginning Of The End" by James Barron Hope
For as the wave of the sea, upheaving in long undulations,
Plunges loud on the sands, pauses, and turns, and retreats,
So the Hexameter, rising and singing, with cadence sonorous,
Falls; and in refluent rhythm back the Pentameter flows.
"In The Harbour: Elegiac Verse" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Here speaks the laureate of a little throng,
The young Licentius whose deft art confers
Some grace upon the later Latin song—
Waxwork, not marble, in hexameters,
Drawing in colours, soft but soon to cease,
A pastel, not a proud old masterpiece.
"A Minor Latin Poet Improving Virgil" by Archbishop William Alexander