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From Middle French prosodie, from Latin prosōdia, from Ancient Greek προσῳδία (prosōidía, song sung to music; pronunciation of syllable), from πρός (prós, to) + ᾠδή (ōidḗ, song).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɒzədi/, /ˈpɹɒsədi/, /ˈpɹəʊzədi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɑzədi/, /ˈpɹɑsədi/, /ˈpɹoʊzədi/
  • Audio (US):(file)



prosody (countable and uncountable, plural prosodies)

  1. (linguistics) The study of rhythm, intonation, stress, and related attributes in speech.
    • 1838, Charles Anthon, A System of Greek Prosody and Metre, Harper & Brothers, page v:
      An accurate acquaintance with the Prosody and Metres of the Greek Language is so necessary an accompaniment of true scholarship, that any attempt to advocate its claims to the notice of the student would be entirely superfluous.
    • 1994, A. M. Devine, Laurence D. Stephens, The Prosody of Greek Speech, Oxford University Press, page v:
      The aim of this book is to answer the question WHAT DID GREEK PROSODY SOUND LIKE? The study of prosody stands at the intersection of a number of quite disparate disciplines, as illustrated in the diagram overleaf.
    • 2007, Jackson T. Gandour, Neural substrates underlying the perception of linguistic prosody, Tomas Riad, Carlos Gussenhoven (editors), Tones and Tunes, Volume 2: Experimental Studies in Word and Sentence Prosody, De Gruyter (Mouton de Gruyter), page 3,
      Brain imaging data shows us moreover that we have to go beyond linguistic units themselves to gain a full understanding of how prosody is processed in the brain.
  2. (poetry) The study of poetic meter; the patterns of sounds and rhythms in verse.

Derived terms



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