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.

  • To turn; revolve, as in meditation.
  • To relate or express in verse; turn into verse or rime.
  • To make verses.
  • In heraldry, reversed or turned in a direction unusual to the bearing in question. Also renverse.
  • 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.

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

  • transitive verb obsolete To tell in verse, or poetry.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To make verses; to versify.
  • 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.

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

  • 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 To educate about, to teach about.
  • 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.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word verse.


  • Eusebius [276] and Cyril [277] having quoted 'the parable of the wicked husbandmen' _in extenso_ (viz. from verse 33 to verse 43), _leave off at verse_ 43.

    The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels Being the Sequel to The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels John William Burgon 1850

  • I remember the great English poet, William Morris, coming in a381 rage out of some lecture hall where somebody had recited some passage out of his Sigurd the Volsung, ‘It gave me a devil of a lot of trouble’, said Morris, ‘to get that thing into verse’.382 It gave me the devil of a lot of trouble to get into verse the poems that I am going to read and that is why I will not read them as if they were prose.

    Later Articles and Reviews W.B. Yeats 2000

  • Since Qur'an is not poetry, the term verse is not appropriate. ... News 2009

  • Save for the line from Shakespeare and the terms from the episode, I guess the rest of the verse is a series original (is it?).

    Eden of the East – What mystery dost thou holdeth? « Undercover 2009

  • There is a translation of it in English verse, that is little short of the original.

    George Selwyn: His Letters and His Life Helen [Editor] Clergue

  • They are simple tales, told in English verse, which is characterised by a purity and a simplicity that are very noteworthy in an Indian writer, and which show considerable acquaintance of the

    Tales of Ind And Other Poems T. Ramakrishna

  • On this awkward affair one of my acquaintance wrote a copy of what we called verse; I liked it, but fancied I could compose something more to the purpose: I tried, and by the unanimous suffrage of my shop-mates was allowed to have succeeded.

    The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor, Vol. I, No. 5, May 1810

  • Twenty years of his life were given to politics and statecraft, and his verse is the product not only of his own genius, but of the national spirit of Puritanism – which was the desire to establish the kingdom of God upon earth.

    Marriage as a Trade 1909

  • This verse is the expression of her exultation and the affirmation of her AÑÑĀ. 89 84

    Psalms of the Sisters Caroline Augusta Foley Rhys 1909

  • There is a translation of it in English verse, that is little short of the original.

    George Selwyn His Letters and His Life Ed 1899

  • Today I learned that "verse" is becoming an English verb, as in "the Canadiens are versing the Maple Leafs tonight," evidently by misinterpretation of the preposition versus as a verb *verses.

    Online Etymology Dictionary - Posts Online Etymology Dictionary 2019


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.