Definitions

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

  • n. A metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable, as in season, or of a long syllable followed by a short syllable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A metrical foot in verse consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A foot of two syllables, the first long and the second short, as in the Latin word ante, or the first accented and the second unaccented, as in the English word motion; a choreus.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In prosody, a foot of two syllables, the first long or accented and the second short or unaccented. The trochee of modern or accentual versification consists of an accented followed by an unaccented syllable.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed syllables

Etymologies

French trochée, from Latin trochaeus, from Greek trokhaios, from trokhos, a running, from trekhein, to run.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • But he calls a trochee, which occupies the same time as a choreus, [Greek: kordax], because its contracted and brief character is devoid of dignity.

    The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4

  • Who knew, for instance, that iambs an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one make feminine-sounding names, such as Chanel, while the reverse—called a trochee—has the masculine sound of Black & Decker?

    The Soul of Brevity

  • "trochee," "dactyl," "anapest" and the rest; if we knew that accent and not quantity was what we really had in mind, it was proper enough to speak of _Paradise Lost_ as written in "iambic pentameter," and _Evangeline_ in

    A Study of Poetry

  • Of course the 'trochee trochee dactyl trochee trochee pattern is only the vaguest approximation of quantitative metrics, but it nonetheless imposes (lyrical or playful) exigencies on the language of the poem that lead, in the best of cases, to discovery, directions to the poem unexpected even to the poet.

    Anis Shivani: Poetry As a Bridge Across Cultures: Anis Shivani Interviews Marilyn Hacker

  • Two dactyls, two trochees per line, if you count the first syllable of each line as a pickup held over from the last trochee.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Lawyer-Poet

  • The careful reader may trace the junctures of sound and sense in the poem's stanza structure: here, for example, we first stop short on the hexasyllabic line, "Stop here, or gently pass," our progress further impeded by its opening trochee.

    Captivation and Liberty in Wordsworth's Poems on Music

  • You can change an initial trochee to an iamb by adding an “And” or an “O.”

    THE ANTHOLOGIST

  • With a polished iamb, trochee, dactyl, amphibrach and anapest.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Maybe the second line of “Mending Wall” would be an even better example – that “swell” pushing up in its “un” - stressed position – (it is after all not uncommon to start a traditional ip line with a trochee.)

    Dipodic Verse : A.E. Stallings : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • The chapter then proceeds to consider the four most common metrical patterns: in relative order of importance, the iambic, the anapest, the trochee and the dactyl.

    THE PROSODY HANDBOOK: A GUIDE TO POETIC FORM by ROBERT BEUM & KARL SHAPIRO

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