(Gr. μέτρον) is, in its almost extensive signification, the measure by which any thing is determined with exactness, and due proportion. In its classical sense the word is used for the subdivision of a verse. The Greeks measured some species of verses (the dactylic, choriambic, antispastic, Ionic, etc.) by considering each foot as a metre; in others (the iambic, trochaic, and anapaestic), each dipodia, or two feet, formed' a metre. Thus the dactylic hexameter (the heroic verse) contained six dactyls or spondees; the iambic, almapaestic, and trochaic trimeter, six of those feet respectively. A line is said to be acatalectic when the last syllable of the last foot is wanting; brachicatalectic, when two syllables are cut off in the same way; hypercatalectic, when there is one superfluous syllable.
In religious poetry, as adapted to music, metre denotes the regular consecution in a stanza of lines containing a certain number of syllables of a given kind of verse. The usual number of lines is four, and these may be alike or different in length. For example, in what is called Long Metre, each line consists of four iambic measures; in Common Metre, the lines contain alternately four and three iambi, or their prosodiac equivalents; and in Short Metre every line has three iambi, except the third, which has four. All other kinds are called "partictlar metres," as 6 lines of 8 syllables each, 4 lines of 7, 6 lines of 7, 4 lines of 10, 4 of 6 and 2 of 8, 8 of 8 and 7 alternately, etc.