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Definition of "caesura" [cae•su•ra]

  • A pause in a line of verse dictated by sense or natural speech rhythm rather than by metrics. (noun)
  • A pause or interruption, as in conversation: After another weighty caesura the senator resumed speaking. (noun)
  • In Latin and Greek prosody, a break in a line caused by the ending of a word within a foot, especially when this coincides with a sense division. (noun)
  • Music A pause or breathing at a point of rhythmic division in a melody. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "caesura" in a sentence
  • "Among occasional variations of the normal strophe as here described may be mentioned the following: The end-rhyme is in a few instances feminine instead of masculine; while on the other hand the ending of the first half-lines is occasionally masculine instead of feminine, that is, the caesura is not "ringing.""
  • "Still, he remembers one space offering a welcome caesura from the ormolu and swag: the Blue Room, which the Count used as his personal sitting area."
  • ""Labor Day," from The Triumph of Achilles, is occasion only to remember her father's death a year ago, which the poet processes conclusively with this profound insight about the length of a human life: "Not a sentence, but a breath, a caesura.""