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Dactyl Definition

An element of meter in poetry. In quantitative verse, such as Greek or Latin, a dactyl is a long syllable followed by two short syllables. In accentual verse, such as English, it is a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables.

Dactyl Poem Example

An example of dactylic meter is the first line of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Evangeline, which is in dactylic hexameter:

This is the / forest prim- / eval. The / murmuring / pines and the / hemlocks,

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Other Dactyl Definition

[n] a finger or toe in human beings or corresponding part in other vertebrates
[n] a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed-unstressed syllables



Misc. Definitions

\Dac"tyl\, n. [L. dactylus, Gr. da`ktylos a finger, a dactyl. Cf. {Digit}.]
1. (Pros.) A poetical foot of three sylables (--- [crescent] [crescent]), one long followed by two short, or one accented followed by two unaccented; as, L. t["e]gm[i^]n[e^], E. mer\b6ciful; -- so called from the similarity of its arrangement to that of the joints of a finger. [Written also {dactyle}.]
2. (Zo["o]l.) (a) A finger or toe; a digit. (b) The claw or terminal joint of a leg of an insect or crustacean.

More Dactyl Links:
  • See poems containing the word: Dactyl.
  • See quotes containing the word: Dactyl.
  • How many syllables are in Dactyl.
  • What rhymes with Dactyl?