A metrical form invented by Sappho, the greatest of all poets. Also: relating to a form of quite nice naughtiness between consenting ladies, of which this poet Sappho of the isle of Lesbos was the most famous example in ancient times (her and her eager pupils, devotees of the love goddess Aphrodite), and therefore called both sapphism and lesbianism in her honour. It is sometimes doubted whether she was a small-l lesbian, but usually by people with an agenda. The evidence of her poems is not perhaps as physically explicit as the average Literotica story, but seems quite clear anyway.

In web searches, if you're actually looking for information about lesbians, the word 'sapphic' slightly improves your chances, since most hits for 'lesbian' actually mean 'big-haired prostitute with tongue pointing near naughty bits of another such a one'.

In clasical poetry, a meter named for the Greek poet Sappho, used frequently by Horace and once in a while by Catullus (and by other poets, I'm sure). The meter consists of a four-line stanza, the first three lines of which are in the same meter and a fourth line, in a different (adonic) meter.

The first three lines look like this ( - = short syllable, ^ = long syllable, * = either, || = optional caesura):

- ^ - - - || ^ ^ - ^ - *

and the fourth line looks like this:

    - ^ ^ - *

Example (in Latin, lines 3 and 4 of a stanza):

 -  ^  -   - - || ^ ^ -  ^ -  ^ 
tintinant aures, gemina teguntur
     - ^ ^  - ^
    lumina nocte

Sap"phic (?), a. [L. Sapphicus, Gr. , fr. Sappho.]


Of or pertaining to Sappho, the Grecian poetess; as, Sapphic odes; Sapphic verse.

2. Pros.

Belonging to, or in the manner of, Sappho; -- said of a certain kind of verse reputed to have been invented by Sappho, consisting of five feet, of which the first, fourth, and fifth are trochees, the second is a spondee, and the third a dactyl



© Webster 1913.

Sap"phic, n. Pros.

A Sapphic verse.


© Webster 1913.

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