Definition of prosody in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpräsədē/


1The patterns of rhythm and sound used in poetry: the translator is not obliged to reproduce the prosody of the original
More example sentences
  • He cared deeply about Greek and Latin history and mythology and possessed a comprehensive knowledge of the prose, poetry and prosody of the eighteenth century.
  • There is no song without prosody, no prosody without song.
  • By contrast, Chapter 6 uses the prosody of classical Greek poetry to illuminate the Seventh Symphony.
1.1The theory or study of prosody.
Example sentences
  • Further ventures into prosody and theory I leave until senior classes.
  • By good luck I heard that a former professor of mine was about to teach a course in prosody - the study of poetic metre, rhyme and stanza.
  • Surviving journals, notebooks, and letters articulate his profound responsiveness to nature and beauty, his acumen as a literary critic and theorist of prosody, his playful wit and devoted friendliness.
1.2The patterns of stress and intonation in a language: the salience of prosody in child language acquisition early English prosodies
More example sentences
  • The current dude flap features exchanges consisting entirely of occurrences of the word dude, with varying prosodies and accompanying gestures, the whole thing telling a story.
  • Craft lore was his phrase for the kind of knowing that's always just escaping our grammars and prosodies - partly, we surmise, because these are described knowledges.
  • The mother's spoken responses, which at first convey to the baby only feelings - the shared affective language of posture and prosody - begin to carry specific semantic content.



Pronunciation: /prəˈzädik/
(or prosodical /prəˈsädikəl/ /-ˈzäd-/) adjective
Example sentences
  • Promising the would-be poet a freedom from formal constraints, the irregular ode, with its lofty manner, prosodic liberty, and intensity of feeling, attracted many writers, most of whom were not equipped for its demands.
  • The distinction casts light on Coleridge's prosodic jottings in his notebooks, but is not directly germane to the present concern.
  • In grammar, syntax, and metrical system Japanese shares nothing with English, and if one tries to obey the prosodic principles of Japanese, as some earlier translators did, the result is likely to be both verbose and ludicrous.


Pronunciation: /ˈpräsədəst/
Example sentences
  • As poet, prosodist and epistolarian, words in their millions ran through his fingers, like the sands of the desert.


Late 15th century: from Latin prosodia 'accent of a syllable', from Greek prosōidia 'song sung to music, tone of a syllable', from pros 'toward' + ōidē 'song'.

  • accent from Late Middle English:

    English distinguishes the different parts or syllables of a word by stressing one of them, but the ancient Greeks pronounced them with a distinct difference in musical pitch. Syllables marked with a grave accent (for example à, from Latin gravis ‘heavy, serious’) were spoken at a comparatively low pitch, those with an acute (á, from Latin acutus ‘sharp, high’) at a higher pitch, and those with a circumflex (â, from Latin circumflexus, ‘bent around’) began at the higher pitch and descended during the pronunciation of the syllable. This gives some explanation of why the root of accent is Latin cantus ‘song’, which was a direct translation of the Greek word prosōidia (source of prosody (Late Middle English) ‘versification’). Quite a few languages (technically known as ‘tonal’ languages) still have this musical way of speaking, among them Chinese and Swedish.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pros·o·dy

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