cae·su·ra also ce·su·ra (sĭ-zhrə, -zrə)
n. pl. cae·su·ras or cae·su·rae (-zhrē, -zrē) also ce·su·ras or ce·su·rae
1. A pause in a line of verse dictated by sense or natural speech rhythm rather than by metrics.
2. A pause or interruption, as in conversation: After another weighty caesura the senator resumed speaking.
3. In Latin and Greek prosody, a break in a line caused by the ending of a word within a foot, especially when this coincides with a sense division.
4. Music A pause or breathing at a point of rhythmic division in a melody.
[Latin caesūra, a cutting, from caesus, past participle of caedere, to cut off; see kaə-id- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
cae·sural, cae·suric adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.