Definitions

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

  • noun A metrical foot consisting of two long or stressed syllables.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In ancient prosody, a foot consisting of two long times or syllables, one of which constitutes the thesis and the other the arsis: it is accordingly tetrasemic and isorrhythmic. The spondee is principally used as a substitute for a dactyl or an anapest. In the former case it is a dactylic spondee ( for ), in the latter an anapestic spondee ( for ). An irrational spondee represents a trisemic foot, trochee, or iambus ( for , or for ). It is found in the even places of trochaic lines and in the odd places of iambic lines, also in logaœdic verses, especially as representing the initial trochee (“basis”). A foot consisting of two spondees is called a dispondee.

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

  • noun (Pros.) A poetic foot of two long syllables, as in the Latin word lēgēs.

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

  • noun A word or metrical foot of two syllables, either both long or both stressed.

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

  • noun a metrical unit with stressed-stressed syllables

Etymologies

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

[Middle English sponde, from Old French spondee, from Latin spondēum, from neuter of spondēus, of libations, spondaic, from Greek spondeios, from spondē, libation (from its use in songs performed at libations); see spend- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin spondēus ("spondee"), from Ancient Greek σπονδεῖος (spondeios, "associated with a libation") from σπονδή (spondē, "libation")- spondees were often used in melodies sung at libations.

Examples

  • It's in a beat called iambic trimeter: da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM, which keeps it light-hearted, but generally when Kunitz uses the word "God" he does so in what's called a spondee, with two strong syllables in succession.

    The Nervous Breakdown

  • Most years from 1300 to 1999 started with more of a spondee.

    On tens, teens, or whatever

  • Horace's Epicuri de grege, but let none add to it the sad spondee which ends the hemistich, "is more unsettling, since it mainly seems devoted to playing, through negation and elaborate periphrasis, with the possibility of referring to its subject as" an

    Economies of Excess in Brillat-Savarin, Balzac, and Baudelaire

  • But after the volta, the same word has changed its intensity entirely, the spondee conveying an unstoppable force that floods over the expected unstressed syllable in irresistible exhortation.

    Archive 2008-10-01

  • Iambs, spondee, trochee were liberally abused in rhythms broken and confused;

    You Eat Bovine

  • The first two quatrains have a somber tone, a heaviness emphasized by the repeating phrase “if we must die,” with its sonorous spondee.

    Annie Finch reads Claude McKay

  • Iambs, spondee, trochee were liberally abused in rhythms broken and confused;

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • But after the volta, the same word has changed its intensity entirely, the spondee conveying an unstoppable force that floods over the expected unstressed syllable in irresistible exhortation.

    Annie Finch reads Claude McKay

  • The first two quatrains have a somber tone, a heaviness emphasized by the repeating phrase “if we must die,” with its sonorous spondee.

    Archive 2008-10-01

  • This is the only instance where Catullus has introduced a spondee into the second foot of the phalaecian, which then becomes decasyllabic.

    Poems and Fragments

Comments

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