Definitions

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

  • n. A line of verse consisting of three metrical feet.
  • n. A line of verse consisting of three measures of two feet each, especially one in iambic, trochaic, or anapestic meter in classical prosody.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A line in a poem having three metrical feet.
  • n. a poetic metre in which each line has three feet.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Consisting of three poetical measures.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In prosody, consisting of three measures, especially of three iambic measures.
  • n. In prosody, a verse or period consisting of three measures.

Etymologies

Late Latin, from Latin trimetrus, from Greek trimetros : tri-, tri- + metron, measure; see meter1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The statement, "A trimeter is a verse of three measures," is a definition because it gives, first, the larger class (verse) to which the trimeters belong, and secondly, the difference (of three measures) which distinguishes the trimeter from all other verses.

    Ontario Normal School Manuals: Science of Education

  • It's in a beat called iambic trimeter: da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM, which keeps it light-hearted, but generally when Kunitz uses the word "God" he does so in what's called a spondee, with two strong syllables in succession.

    The Nervous Breakdown

  • This brief Nativity poem has just 40 words, divided into 8 lines of iambic trimeter.

    2008 December 10 « One-Minute Book Reviews

  • Wordsworth experimented with an anapestic ballad stanza of alternating tetrameter and trimeter in the 1798

    Captivation and Liberty in Wordsworth's Poems on Music

  • Before, I had noted in passing that I wasn't seeing much metrical verse when I looked for cards, but this was the first time I specifically set out to find a card with something resembling ABAB and trochaic trimeter, or whatever.

    Unexpected difficulties

  • For example, suppose a poet wrote a lot of lines of iambic trimeter.

    Does Mitch Albom Think He’s Jesus? « One-Minute Book Reviews

  • What can we say about this poem, besides the fact that it's in common meter alternating iambic tetrameter/iambic trimeter?

    "The Martyr's Hymn"

  • Refined to lines of trimeter, he tried to pose the sonnet he desired to be a subtle way to move young poets he described as cattle in a field of flies.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • Laertius 'statement (A1) that Xenophanes “wrote in epic meter, also elegiacs, and iambics” is confirmed by extant poems in hexameters and elegiac meter, with one couplet (B14) a combination of hexameter and iambic trimeter.

    Xenophanes

  • Like “The Crocodile,” most poems in “Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant” use the ballad stanzas known as common meter or “hymn” stanzas, or alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter with rhyming first and third lines.

    2007 November 24 « One-Minute Book Reviews

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