Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The minimal unit of metrical time in quantitative verse, equal to the short syllable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A delay in bringing a claim.
  • n. A unit used to measure lines and stanzas of poetry.
  • n. A unit of syllable weight used in phonology, by which stress, foot structure, or timing of utterance is determined in some languages (e.g. Japanese).
  • n. A genus of large South American trees.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A game of guessing the number of fingers extended in a quick movement of the hand, -- much played by Italians of the lower classes.
  • n. A leguminous tree of Guiana and Trinidad (Dimorphandra excelsa); also, its timber, used in shipbuilding and making furniture.
  • n. Delay; esp., culpable delay; postponement.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In ancient prosody, the unit of time, equivalent to the ordinary or normal short; the semeion or primary time. See time.
  • n. In civillaw, any unjustifiable delay in the fulfilment of an obligation, for which the party delaying is responsible.
  • n. An old game still common in Italy, in which one of the players, after raising the right hand, suddenly lowers it, with one or more of the fingers extended, the other players trying to guess the number so extended.
  • n. A majestic leguminous tree, Dimorphandra (Mora) excelsa, abounding in Guiana and Trinidad.
  • n. In Greek antiquity, one of the six main divisions of the army of Sparta, commanded by a polemarch.

Etymologies

Latin, pause.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin mora ("duration of time, delay"). (Wiktionary)
New Latin from a botanical name, perhaps from Tupi. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • prosody set morae with elegant spartan , complete.

    August 1, 2013

  • the mora of haiku

    August 1, 2013

  • That's actually called morra.

    May 16, 2011

  • "2. An old game still common in Italy, in which one of the players, after raising the right hand, suddenly lowers it, with one or more of the fingers extended, the other players trying to guess the number so extended." --Cent. Dict.

    May 16, 2011

  • Usage on lotto.

    December 17, 2009

  • Mora: the vowel in a syllable and the consonant at the end. "Poo" has one mora, "put" has two.

    Take a sip 4 or 5 morae, 3 syllables

    Take a cup o' char 7 or 8 morae, 5 syllables

    It's often said that a haiku is comprised of lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables in succession, though the original designation is 5-7-5 morae. The trouble is, in the English writing system, it's hard to feel out the number of morae in a word (often due to the MOP absconding with the codas). However, Japanese kana are organized precisely that way; each little bubble of cute represents one mora.

    Given the moraic ambiguity of English, is there much use in crafting haiku?

    June 23, 2009