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dactyl Line breaks: dac¦tyl
Pronunciation: /ˈdaktɪl/

Definition of dactyl in English:


A metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables or (in Greek and Latin) one long syllable followed by two short syllables.
Example sentences
  • Thus a pattern consisting of five iambs would be an iambic pentameter; a pattern consisting of six dactyls would be a dactylic hexameter; and so on.
  • His formula for modern heroic verse, proclaimed up front in the essay, was, in short: more dactyls than trochees, and more trochees than spondees.
  • Southey agrees, however, that the foot before the final trochee should always be a dactyl.


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek daktulos, literally 'finger' (the three bones of the finger corresponding to the three syllables).

Words that rhyme with dactyl

Definition of dactyl in:
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