Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A metrical foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable or a short syllable followed by a long syllable, as in delay.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A metrical foot in verse consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An iambus or iambic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as iambus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables

Etymologies

French iambe, from Latin iambus, from Greek iambos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French iambe, from Latin iambus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The "iamb" series makes visual reference to Josef Strau, an artist who uses lamps in his sculptures, and with whom Ms.

    NYT > Home Page

  • And you can flip around an iamb so that the line begins with a little triplet, or an eighth note and a sixteenth note, which happens a lot—as in “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.”

    THE ANTHOLOGIST

  • You can change an initial trochee to an iamb by adding an “And” or an “O.”

    THE ANTHOLOGIST

  • With a polished iamb, trochee, dactyl, amphibrach and anapest.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • The widow and her children went home without so much as an iamb.

    The Friday Fillip — Slaw

  • In Shakespeare's day the groundlings were a lot more unruly, and you could say that that actress wasn't being sincere or true to her Shakespearean traditions, taking umbrage at a harmless bit of tom foolery that wouldn't have caused Richard Burbage to drop so much as a single iamb from To be, or not to be.

    Lance Mannion:

  • Which would make it a spondee and an iamb, I guess.

    languagehat.com: CHOIRS/QUIRES.

  • For the next seven years, despite repeated strokes, my grandfather worked at a small desk, piecing together the legendary fragments into a larger mosaic, adding a stanza here, a coda there, soldering an anapest or an iamb.

    Middlesex

  • In our understanding, the sonnet seems to be the very shape of thought: in its dense, patterned form it exteriorizes thought; and "I think" or "I thought" is the perfect iamb.

    Thinking about the Other in Romantic Love

  • The English-speaking foreigner is at first surprised, if he takes to scanning Pushkin's blank verse, to find that there are few substitutions of feet — hardly even a trochee for an iamb.

    The Strange Case of Pushkin and Nabokov

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.