One of the several kinds of metrical feet
, a dactyl is a foot containing syllables in the pattern STRESSED-UNSTRESSED-UNSTRESSED. The word "dactyl" comes from the ancient Greek
", 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.