from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. See amphimacer.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Referring to a metrical pattern of poetry where each foot is composed of 3 syllables, the first and third of which are stressed and the second is unstressed. This pattern is very rare in English poetry.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A poetic foot, composed of one short syllable between two long ones (- ˘ -).
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Cretan: specifically (without a capital letter) applied to a form of verse. See II.
- n. In ancient prosody: A foot of three syllables, the first and third of which are long, while the second is short, the ictus or metrical stress resting either on the first or on the last syllable .
- n. plural Verses consisting of amphimacers.
I have been rather less scrupulous in allowing the last foot of the glyconic lines to be a dactyl (- uu), in place of the more correct cretic (- u -).
But these same three feet end a sentence very badly if one of them is placed at the end, unless the dactyl comes at the end instead of a cretic; for it does not signify whether the dactyl or the cretic comes at the end, because it does not signify even in verse whether the last syllable of all is long or short.
For there is the cretic, which consists of a long syllable, then a short one, then a long; and there is its equivalent the paeon; which is equal in time, but longer by one syllable; and which is considered a very convenient foot to be used in prose, as it is of two kinds.
Aristotle, Theophrastus, Theodectes, and Ephorus, the most suitable of all for an oration, either at the beginning or in the middle; they think that it is very suitable for it at the end also; in which place the cretic appears to me to be better.
But there are several other cadences which will have a numerous and pleasing effect: for even the _cretic_, which consists of a long, a short, and a long syllable, and it's companion the _paeon_, which is equal to it in quantity, though it exceeds it in the number of syllables, is reckoned
They are likewise of opinion, that it is equally proper at the end; where, in my opinion, the _cretic_ deserves the preference.
But the three feet I am mentioning, are neither of them very proper for closing a period, (that is, to form the last foot of it) unless when a _dactyl_ is substituted for a _cretic_, for you may use either of them at pleasure; because, even in verse, it is of no consequence whether the last syllable is long or short.
= Ovid lists the three possible ways of scanning the name so as to remove the cretic: _TUticanus_, _TuticAnus_, and _TUtIcAnus_.
= A constant problem for the Latin poets was the impossibility of using words with cretic patterns (a long syllable, followed by a short syllable, followed by another long syllable) in hexameter or elegiac verse.
The fact played an important part in determining Latin poetic vocabulary; for instance, such an ordinary word as _femina_, cretic in its oblique cases, is usually represented through metonymy by such words as _nurus_ and _mater_.
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