Definitions

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

  • noun One or more unstressed syllables at the beginning of a line of verse, before the reckoning of the normal meter begins.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In prosody, an upward beat at the beginning of a verse, consisting of either one or two unaccented syllables, regarded as separate from and introductory to the remainder of the verse.

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

  • noun (Pros.) A prefix of one or two unaccented syllables to a verse properly beginning with an accented syllable.

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

  • noun prosody An unstressed syllable at the start of a verse.
  • noun music An unstressed note or notes before the first strong beat (or downbeat) of a phrase.

Etymologies

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

[New Latin anacrūsis, from Greek anakrousis, beginning of a tune, from anakrouein, to strike up a song : ana-, ana- + krouein, to push.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Modern Latin, from Ancient Greek ἀνάκρουσις (anakrousis, "pushing up"), from ἀνακρούω (anakrouō, "I push up"), from ἀνά (ana, "up") + κρούω (krouō, "I strike").

Examples

  • 3. The first word of “The Star-Spangled Banner” “Oh” is an example of the literary device known as anacrusis, a lead-in syllable or syllables that precede the first full foot.

    2008 August 15 « One-Minute Book Reviews

  • The four stresses of the Anglo-Saxon verse are retained, and as much thesis and anacrusis is allowed as is consistent with a regular cadence.

    Beowulf An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem

  • If the first two syllables be regarded as anacrusis, the first line would be trochaic, with a dactyl substituted for a trochee in the second foot.

    The Principles of English Versification

  • Similar combinations, still freer, with frequent anacrusis as well, are characteristic of Swinburne's Hesperia; e. g.

    The Principles of English Versification

  • This may be trochaic with anacrusis or iambic with feminine endings, but neither quite adequately describes it.

    The Principles of English Versification

  • The four stresses of the Anglo-Saxon verse are retained, and as much thesis and anacrusis is allowed as is consistent with a regular cadence.

    The Translations of Beowulf A Critical Bibliography

  • ‘Possible, of course; but treat them as Ionics a minore with an anacrusis, and see if they don’t go better.’

    New Grub Street

  • By itself the fourth line would be called iambic: in this context it is called trochaic with 'anacrusis,' i. e., with one or more extra-metrical syllables at the beginning. [

    The Principles of English Versification

  • Possible, of course; but treat them as Ionics a minore with an anacrusis, and see if they don't go better. "

    The Private Life of Henry Maitland

  • According to Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Chailly has taken his own pencil to the score and replaced the single-note Thwack! with a "short, anacrusis before each note - 'buh-duh-DUM!

    ArchitectureChicago PLUS

Comments

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  • In prosody, an unstressed syllable or syllable group that begins a line of verse but is not counted as part of the first foot. In music, the note or notes preceding a downbeat; upbeat.

    February 12, 2008