Meaning of anapaest in English:


(US anapest)

Pronunciation /ˈanəpiːst/ /ˈanəpɛst/


  • A metrical foot consisting of two short or unstressed syllables followed by one long or stressed syllable.

    ‘Thus in the last stanza quoted, after the surge of anapaests in the first two lines, spondees, dactyls, and iambs begin to appear.’
    • ‘They seemed startled by the realization they could actually craft iamb, anapest, anapest, and have it come out a poem.’
    • ‘He thereby lends some countenance to Saintsbury's later mantra that what passes for English dactylics are in fact ‘tipped-up’ hypermetric anapests.’
    • ‘Then there's the verse, the galumphing iambs and anapests that pull you forward with the force of the Cat in the Hat leading you off a cliff.’
    • ‘Each mixes iambs and anapests in a particular way, yet each blends seamlessly with the others and helps to create a perfectly natural cadence.’


Late 16th century via Latin from Greek anapaistos ‘reversed’, from ana- ‘back’ + paiein ‘strike’ (because it is the reverse of a dactyl).