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".

Enjambment Poem 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.

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Other Enjambment Definition

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

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See Also...

inflection, prosody

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