American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Variant of iamb.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In prosody, a foot of two syllables, the first short or unaccented and the second long or accented. The iambus of modern or accentual versification consists of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one, without regard to the relative time taken in pronouncing the two syllables. Thus in English verse the words ălīght' dīlāte', ēmīt', ăbĕt' would all be treated as iambi, while on the principles of ancient prosody the first of these words would be an iambus, but the second a spondee (an anapestic spondee,
), the third a trochee, and the last a pyrrhic. The iambus of Greek and Latin poetry ( ) is quantitative, and as the first syllable is short, and the second being long is equal to two shorts, the whole foot has a magnitude of three shorts (is trisemic). Also called iamb, iambic.
- n. poetry an iamb
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Pros.) A foot consisting of a short syllable followed by a long one, as in
ămāns, or of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one, as invent; an iambic. See the Couplet under iambic, n.
- n. a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables
- From Greek ἴαμβος "a poetic meter". (Wiktionary)
“That verse wherein the accent is on the even syllables may be called even or parisyllabic verse, and corresponds with what has been called iambic verse; retaining the term iambus for the name of the foot we shall thereby mean an unaccented and an accented syllable.”
“As has already been said, the iambus is the common foot of English verse.”
“Only we must be careful that by "iambus," in English poetry, we _meant_ an unstressed syllable, rather than a short syllable followed by a long one.”
“/'And YET' /is a complete 'iambus'; but 'anyet' is, like 'spirit', a dibrach u u, trocheized, however, by the 'arsis' or first accent damping, though not extinguishing, the second.”
“Or young Apollo's; and yet, after this, &c. '/They would HAzard/'  -- furnishes an anapæst for an 'iambus'.”
“He could make Greek iambics, and doubted whether the bishop knew the difference between an iambus and a trochee.”
“It is a decasyllabic line, with a trochee substituted for an iambus in the third foot — Around: me gleamed: many a: bright se: pulchre.”
“In order to deal with English verse, you need to talk about only five feet: the iambus, the trochee, the anapaest, the dactyl, and the spondee.”
“This influence of the chief accent affects also combinations of two monosyllabic words which make an iambus, and combinations like _ego illi_, _age ergo_, in which the second syllable of the second word is elided.”
“And yet the first makes a _iambus_, and the second a _trocheus_ ech sillable retayning still his former quantities.”
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