(redirected from iambs)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


 (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 ?
The poem, selected according to the commentator "because of Morriseau-Leroy's exploration of colonial legacies, neocolonial or postcolonial challenges, and general commitment to issues of social justice" grapples with issues of implied address, considerably more flexible pronouns than English, and a Creole-language meter that begins in iamb and devolves into "a heterogeneous (and wild) company of anapests, trochees, iambs, and spondees.
That iambic languages often assign feet from left to right (LR): there are no clear cases of RL iambs.
How do we scan line 16 at the end of the second stanza: two iambs plus an anapest ("And I have not had my part") or a sequence of anapest, pyrrhic, spondee ("And I have not had my part": a "haven't" in Victorian stays)?
Yet the notion that an anapest amid iambs tends to accelerate the pace can be justified without recourse to isochrony.
Even when I was a boy at school a lot of time was spent studying dactyls, spondees iambs, meter, scansion, caesura and enjambement in more language than English.
Moreover, a fascinating piece of reception history is provided by the Christie's database record of Ruskin's manuscript annotations in his copy: Corinna's going a Maying is "lovely" and the close of the final stanza is "Horatian," His Poetrie his Pillar consists of "quiet unaccented iambs," a passage in The Mad Maids Song is "curious," and A Prognostick is "low.
beating iambs into dough, rising invocations to the muse of ovens and
Foxes living near farms are not averse to preying on small livestock, such as poultry and young Iambs.
What makes the final turn of "Stateside" so moving isn't just the sum of its parts--the degrees of emphasis earned via repetitive phrasing (spouse // instead of lover, / stateside instead of overseas"), end rhyme (his hand is ironically "understood" even as the speaker resists its touch), and metrical organization (the phrases "I feel myself" and "a touch I want" deliver a powerful sonic punch thanks, in part, to the isolation of paired iambs on a single line).
Rene Kager (1992; 1993; 1999: 171-175) has shown that the asymmetry of iambs and trochees can be described without invoking the ITL.
Within the shared, metrically identical constraints of the so-called iambic verse, Russian iambs show rhythmic alleviation [nonstress] on metrically strong syllables (on average three stresses per tetrameter).
In these early post-historical days, words are frequently used to create cartographies of a thing called individual identity; poetry, meanwhile, is often discussed with reference to trochees, iambs, sapphics and anapests, and a historical artifact called the English Tradition.