(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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


a foot of two syllables, the first short or unstressed, the second long or stressed. — iambic, adj.
See also: Verse
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


 of poets—Lipton, 1970.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pushkin's 1836 epistle to Davydov is written in iambs.
(10) (ii) Foot Construction Form iambs from left to right.
The line's iambs are broken up by an anapest on "murderers brought," to give emphasis and pause to the action of murder.
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." Even the first three lines of the brief, nine-line poem illustrate that translation is far more complex an art than a simple mathematical process of replacing each word in Creole with its counterpart in English; the trot provided, while fascinating, is clearly lacking as a poem in English.
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." Surely, this commentary from the arbiter of nineteenth-century aesthetic taste ought to have found a place in the Oxford Herrick?
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).
It does not seem enough to declare that beneath a seeming "disarray of amphibrachs, dactyls, iambs" there is "clear metrical regularity" (188).