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TROCHAIC (from Gr. rpoxaios, Tpoxcuicos; Lat. trochaeus), the name of a metre very commonly used by the Greeks and Romans in their tragedies and comedies. Its characteristic foot is a trochee consisting of two syllables, one long, one short (-j). The usual form, in which the Greeks employed the measure, was the trochaic tetrameter catalectic, the scheme of which is as follows:

v \J V -3 \J w u The trochaic metre is rapid in movement and breathless, and is generally used to depict strong emotions or to tell an exciting narrative. It is, however, very closely related to the ordinary iambic metre; in fact, by subtracting the first foot and a half of the longer line, we find ourselves left with a pure iambic line as used by the tragedians.

In modern times, the trochaic measure has been adopted by the prosody of England, Germany and Scandinavia. The swift and hurrying movement of it, which we see reflected in its derivation, as the Greek name is certainly to be traced back to the verb rpextiv, to run, has made it a favourite with our lyrical poets. In the early English writers on versification the foot is called a trocheus.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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