Is there a term for the first line of something, whether it's a poem, song, or prose?

Addendum: Sometimes, though not always, the first line is the same as the title, such as in Walt Whitman’s poem “I Sing the Body Electric”.

1 Answer 1



  • The opening words of a text, especially when used in place of a title to identify an otherwise untitled work. (AHD)
  • Wow, nice word. Not heard that one before.
    – Charon
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:45
  • “The word ‘incipit’ comes from Latin and means ‘it begins’.” Nice etymology!
    – OxC0FFEE
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:52

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