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Lacking one or more syllables, especially in the final foot. Used of verse.

[Late Latin catalēcticus, from Greek katalēktikos, from katalēgein, to leave off : kata-, intensive pref.; see cata- + lēgein, to cease, terminate; see slēg- in Indo-European roots.]


(Poetry) prosody (of a line of verse) having an incomplete final foot
[C16: via Late Latin from Greek katalēktikos incomplete, from katalēgein, from kata- off + lēgein to stop]


(ˌkæt lˈɛk tɪk)
1. (of a line of verse) lacking part of the last foot.
2. a catalectic line of verse.
[1580–90; < Late Latin catalēcticus < Greek katalēktikós incomplete <katalḗg(ein) to leave off]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.catalectic - (prosody) a line of verse that lacks a syllable in the last metrical foot
metrics, prosody - the study of poetic meter and the art of versification
line of poetry, line of verse - a single line of words in a poem
Adj.1.catalectic - (verse) metrically incomplete; especially lacking one or more syllables in the final metrical foot
acatalectic - (verse) metrically complete; especially having the full number of syllables in the final metrical foot
hypercatalectic - (verse) having an extra syllable or syllables at the end of a metrically complete verse or in a metrical foot
References in periodicals archive ?
On one hand a select minority of readers, often trained I find in European classical music, will begin at the beginning downbeat, make as many trochees as possible, and then, coming up short for foot four, declare the line catalectic with terminal truncation.
Tetrameter, clearly, as in Blake; and (while a trochee-iamb pairing is possible for the first two feet) most probably a catalectic rising line, again as in Blake but now involving anapests rather than iambs, and thus premising two ghost slacks rather than one at the head of the line (parenthetized above) to fill the number of anapestic feet out to four.
Perhaps it intends to be a "homecoming drama", a catalectic attempt to appropriate the "epic odyssey"?
Pound called him Carlos and "for fifteen or eighteen years" cited Williams as the sole known American-dwelling author who could be counted on to oppose the invisible barriers set up by the collective American mindset--"the sole catalectic in whose presence some sort of modification would take place.
The Most Creative Act': He thinks of counterpoint the/cadence of a catalectic line that breaks/another curving back upon itself the flow/into cesura's calm texture/of vowels and consonants expectations dashed the stretch of/tension aesthetic distance.
Example 9 dissolves into jaunty dactylic tetrameter catalectic in a natural unforced reading (the unmetrically-occupied S-slot is double-underlined):
If a given text has less material in it than the prosody requires we register a violation of FILL; the unfilled metrical positions are traditionally said to be catalectic.
Tradition has it that the final metrical position is catalectic (--), but a moment's thought reveals that this could be otherwise and we will have to seriously consider the possibility that, for example, the initial position of the last line is catalectic instead.
But the meter--trochaic tetrameter catalectic in all but the penultimate dimetric line--bears remote echoes of Caesar's marching songs.