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 (ī′ămb′, ī′ăm′) also i·am·bus (ī-ăm′bəs)
n. pl. i·ambs also i·am·bus·es or i·am·bi (-bī′)
1. A metrical foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, as in delay.
2. A metrical foot in quantitative verse composed of a short syllable followed by a long one.

[French iambe, from Latin iambus, from Greek iambos.]


(ˈaɪæm; ˈaɪæmb) or


n, pl iambs, iambi (aɪˈæmbaɪ) or iambuses
1. (Poetry) a metrical foot consisting of two syllables, a short one followed by a long one (˘¯)
2. (Poetry) a line of verse of such feet
[C19 iamb, from C16 iambus, from Latin, from Greek iambos]


(ˈaɪ æm, ˈaɪ æmb)

a prosodic foot of two syllables, a short followed by a long in quantitative meter, or an unstressed followed by a stressed in accentual meter, as in Come live / with me / and be / my love.
[1835–45; short for iambus]


a foot of two syllables, the first short or unstressed, the second long or stressed. — iambic, adj.
See also: Verse


 of poets—Lipton, 1970.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.iamb - a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables
metrical foot, metrical unit, foot - (prosody) a group of 2 or 3 syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm
References in periodicals archive ?
Walking around with these lines looping through my head left me with some questions, some iambs, and a dim sense of the poem as an emotional wandering and a version, a rendering, of whatever we call the soul.
I was weaning Iambs and my ewes had far too much milk.
Five years on and the farm finishes some 4,000 Iambs and 300 head of cattle, which are butchered and processed in the on-farm butchery and sold from a roadside shop, through mail order as well as supplied to selected hotels and restaurants.
And the initial anapestic foot of the second line seems to slide down after the discovery in the first line that not trochees but iambs are afoot.
James Booth has remarked of "Going" (CP 3), for example, that "the way the initial regular iambs collapse into virtual free verse at the end of the poem embodies [.
At a time when an increasing number of poets are lining up their iambs, he maintains the experiment of free verse, and along lines decidedly not Eliotic: little pentameter hides behind the arras - if his poetry can even be said to have an arras - and the few times the poetry does rise to a pentameter it does so invidiously, to indicate the violences that all aspects of tradition practice on us.
In a more emotionally intense part of this exchange between the chorus and Xerxes, a preliminary lament, there is again a shift in rhythm to iambs ( - v - v) with frequent syncopation and single line exchanges, many short lines and phrases, many repetitions of sounds and words, and an increasing number of cries of woe (ie, ie, io, io, io, io, 1002-1037).
Our concern, though, is no longer with marking iambs or finding anapestic substitutions, but rather with the manner in which the location of a stressed syllable gestures toward a reality beyond the poetic line.
These iambs are born around five days ahead of most other sheep breeds and weigh five-to-seven pounds making it easier for them to lamb.
I use syllabics instead of iambs, prefer slant- to the gong of full rhyme, write briefly while others go for pages.
Although the "feet" here are perfectly solid iambs, they rest upon the uneasy ground of an obvious syntactic inversion ("fail my feet").
Iambs and dactyls, as vestiges of historical traditions of meter, enact their old battle within Crane's lines between purity (or constraint?