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Enjambment

Definition

Enjambment (also spelled "enjambement") is the breaking of a syntactic unit (a phrase, clause, or sentence) by the end of a line or between two verses. Its opposite is end-stopping, where each linguistic unit corresponds with a single line. The term is directly borrowed from the French enjambement, meaning "straddling" or "bestriding".

[n] the continuation of a syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause

Example

The following lines from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (c. 1611) are heavily enjambed:

I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honourable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown.

Related Information

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Synonyms

enjambement