from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To play against (an opponent) in a competition.
  • transitive verb To familiarize by study or experience.
  • noun A single metrical line in a poetic composition; one line of poetry.
  • noun A division of a metrical composition, such as a stanza of a poem or hymn.
  • noun A poem.
  • noun Metrical or rhymed composition as distinct from prose; poetry.
  • noun The art or work of a poet.
  • noun A group of poems.
  • noun Metrical writing that lacks depth or artistic merit.
  • noun A particular type of metrical composition, such as blank verse or free verse.
  • noun One of the numbered subdivisions of a chapter in the Bible.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To versify or engage in versifying.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In prosody: A succession of feet (colon or period) written or printed in one line; a line: as, a poem of three hundred verses; hence, a type of metrical composition, as represented by a metrical line; a meter. A verse may be catalectic, dimeter, trimeter, iambic, dactylic, rimed, unrimed, alliterative, etc.
  • noun A type of metrical composition, represented by a group of lines; a kind of stanza: as, Spencerian verse; hence, a stanza: as, the first verse of a (rimed) hymn.
  • noun A specimen of metrical composition; a piece of poetry; a poem.
  • noun Metrical composition in general; versification; hence, poetical composition; poetry, especially as involving metrical form: opposed to prose.
  • noun A succession of words written in one line; hence, a sentence, or part of a sentence, written, or fitted to be written, as one line; a Stich or stichos.
  • noun Hence— In liturgies, a sentence, or part of a sentence, usually from the Scriptures, especially from the Book of Psalms, said alternately by an officiant or leader and the choir or people: specifically, the sentence, clause, or phrase said by the officiant or leader, as distinguished from the response of the choir or congregation; a versicle.
  • noun In church music, a passage or movement for a single voice or for soloists, as contrasted with chorus; also, a soloist who sings such a passage
  • noun A short division of a chapter in any book of Scripture, usually forming one sentence, or part of a long sentence or period.
  • noun A similar division in any book.
  • In heraldry, reversed or turned in a direction unusual to the bearing in question. Also renverse.
  • To turn; revolve, as in meditation.
  • To relate or express in verse; turn into verse or rime.
  • To make verses.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A line consisting of a certain number of metrical feet (see foot, n., 9) disposed according to metrical rules.
  • noun Metrical arrangement and language; that which is composed in metrical form; versification; poetry.
  • noun A short division of any composition.
  • noun A stanza; a stave.
  • noun (Script.) One of the short divisions of the chapters in the Old and New Testaments.
  • noun (Mus.) A portion of an anthem to be performed by a single voice to each part.
  • noun A piece of poetry.
  • noun poetry in which the lines do not end in rhymes.
  • noun See under Heroic.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To make verses; to versify.
  • transitive verb obsolete To tell in verse, or poetry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To educate about, to teach about.
  • noun A poetic form with regular meter and a fixed rhyme scheme.
  • noun Poetic form in general.
  • noun One of several similar units of a song, consisting of several lines, generally rhymed.
  • noun A small section of the Jewish or Christian Bible.
  • verb obsolete To compose verses.
  • verb colloquial To oppose, to be an opponent for, as in a game, contest or battle.

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

  • verb compose verses or put into verse
  • noun a piece of poetry
  • noun literature in metrical form
  • verb familiarize through thorough study or experience
  • noun a line of metrical text


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

[Probably back-formation from versus taken as verses in such phrases as Boston versus New York.]

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

[Latin versāre; see versatile.]

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

[Middle English vers, from Old English fers and from Old French vers, both from Latin versus, from past participle of vertere, to turn; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Partly from Old English vers; partly, from Old French vers; both, from Latin versus ("a line in writing, and in poetry a verse; (originally) row, furrow"), from vertō ("to turn around").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Back-formation from versus, misconstrued as a third-person singular verb *verses.


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  • There's also verse as in universe.

    October 26, 2009

  • JM met a poet who had written better poems (but he’d also written verse).

    May 25, 2011