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An anapaest (also spelled anapæst or anapest, also called antidactylus) is a metrical foot used in formal poetry. In classical quantitative meters it consists of two short syllables followed by a long one; in accentual stress meters it consists of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable. It may be seen as a reversed dactyl. This word comes from the Greek ανάπαιστος, anápaistos, literally "struck back" (a dactyl reversed), from ana and -paistos, verbal of παίειν, paíein "to strike."

Because of its length and the fact that it ends with a stressed syllable and so allows for strong rhymes, anapaest can produce a very rolling verse, and allows for long lines with a great deal of internal complexity.


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