Definitions

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

  • n. The absence of one or more syllables in a line of verse, especially in the last foot.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A shortened or incomplete last foot at the end of a verse.
  • n. Truncation at the close of a line of poetry by omission of one or two final syllables.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In prosody, incompleteness of the last foot or measure of a verse; in a wider sense, incompleteness of any foot in a verse.

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

  • n. the absence of a syllable in the last foot of a line or verse

Etymologies

Greek katalēxis, from katalēgein, to leave off; see catalectic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Nearly all English metres owe their existence as metres to "catalexis," or pause, for the time of one or more feet, and, as

    The Unknown Eros

  • Getting the vapors over a critic screaming his outrage in full-throated disgust at the abandonment of humane ideals is to play the courtly stooge in a manner most unbecoming an honest mind. — catalexis

    Easing Off Online Obscenities - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

  • What does that say about the prospects for assimilation of newcomers from Mexico? catalexis Says:

    Matthew Yglesias » The Land of Many Kims

  • * With apologies to catalexis, I took the liberty of substituting a Baby Sinclair picture that I think more closely captures the batshit craziness of Huggy Bear.

    Caption Contest

  • Report this comment to the moderators catalexis Writes:

    And a bit more on real manhood

  • For information on the generally overlooked but primarily important function of catalexis in English verse I refer such readers as may be curious about the subject to the Essay printed as an appendix to the later editions of my collected poems.

    The Unknown Eros

  • _̷ ◡ ◡ _̷ ◡ _̷ ◡ _̷ ◡ _̷ that is, 5-stress trochaic, with dactylic substitution in the first foot and truncation or catalexis of the last foot in the second and fourth lines; or perhaps iambic, with anapestic substitution in the second foot and a feminine ending in the first and third lines.

    The Principles of English Versification

  • a rule, the position and amount of catalexis are fixed.

    The Unknown Eros

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