Saturday, July 30, 2005

Word of the Day for Saturday July 30, 2005

caesura \sih-ZHUR-uh; -ZUR-\, noun;
plural caesuras or caesurae \sih-ZHUR-ee; -ZUR-ee\:

1. A break or pause in a line of verse, usually occurring in
the middle of a line, and indicated in scanning by a double
vertical line; for example, "The proper study || of mankind is
man" [Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man].
2. Any break, pause, or interruption.

After an inconclusive day spent discussing the caesura of
"Sonnet"'s opening line, Luke and his colleagues went for
cocktails at Strabismus.
--Martin Amis, [1]Heavy Water and Other Stories

The crucial event of the Robedaux family occurs offscreen,
in a narrative caesura between the film's two "acts."
--Richard Corliss, "The Patter of Little Footes," [2]Time,
May 13, 1985

Say her name today in the right circles and you'll notice a
sudden intake of breath, a caesura of pure awe.
--Michael Dirda, "In which our intrepid columnist visits
the Modern Language Association convention and reflects on
what he found there," [3]Washington Post, January 28, 2001

During the historical caesura between the total destruction
of Aquileia and the seventh-century foundation of the city
of Heraclea as the first political capital of the second
Venice, the refugees lived on Grado and the other islands,
just as Cassiodorus had seen them: humbly, simply, and by
the toil of their hands.
--Patricia Fortini Brown, [4]Venice and Antiquity

Caesura comes from Latin caesura, "a cutting off, a division,
a stop," from the past participle of caedere, "to cut."

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