- (In Greek and Latin verse) A break between words within a metrical foot.
- (In modern verse) A pause near the middle of a line.
- Any interruption or break.
“The nursery rhyme seems like a tongue twister, but the caesuras give you time to remember the next line.”
“I prefer singing hymns with set caesuras, because it’s easy to figure out when to breathe.”
“My brother calls his lunch break a ‘caesura’ because he says it makes it fancier.”
Latin, mid-16th century
Why this word?
The word “caesura” comes directly from the Latin “caesura,” referring to a pause in the meter of poetry. A caesura can be an interruption or break, but this word is most commonly used in a more formal context for the agreed-upon break in a line of speech or song. For example, a choir might take a quick caesura for a breath at the same time. One of the most familiar caesuras is the slight pause following the words, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,” which begin the Pledge of Allegiance. The caesuras in the pledge are memorized as part of the delivery, along with the 31 words.
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