A pause that occurs in the middle of lines, either grammatical or rhetorical. It's used to vary rhythm in poetry.

From Walt Whitman's A Noiseless Patient Spider:

    It launched forth filament,|| filament,|| filament,|| out of itself, (Grammatical)
From William Carlos Williams' The Widow's Lament in Springtime:
    flames || as it has flamed
    often before || but not

Cae*su"ra (?), n.; pl. E. Caesuras (), L. Caesurae () [L. caesura a cutting off, a division, stop, fr. caedere, caesum, to cut off. See Concise.]

A metrical break in a verse, occurring in the middle of a foot and commonly near the middle of the verse; a sense pause in the middle of a foot. Also, a long syllable on which the caesural accent rests, or which is used as a foot.

⇒ In the following line the caesura is between study and of.

The prop | er stud | y || of | mankind | is man.

 

© Webster 1913.

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