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One of the several kinds of metrical feet in poetry, a dactyl is a foot containing syllables in the pattern STRESSED-UNSTRESSED-UNSTRESSED. The word "dactyl" comes from the ancient Greek for "finger", because a finger has three bones (metacarpals) whose lengths correspond to the lengths of the syllables in a dactyl; compare "rosy-fingered Dawn" and "polydactylism".

The meter of classical epic poetry, such as the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid, is dactyllic hexameter.