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Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Anapest

Definition:

This foot of poetry is made up of three syllables: two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable: dadaDUM.

Want a famous example? Clement C. Moore's poem "Twas The Night Before Christmas" is made up almost entirely of anapests. When you read it aloud, it sounds like a bunch of dadaDUMs strung together.

For anapestic poems on Shmoop, check out our analysis of William Blake's "The Sick Rose" and W.H. Auden's "The Unknown Citizen".