Definition of iambus in English:


nounplural noun iambuses, plural noun iambi/-bī/

  • another term for iamb

    ‘Of the five kinds of feet illustrated here, the iambus is by far the most often used in English verse; the spondee is the rarest.’
    • ‘The metre throughout is iambic tetrameter, alternating with trimeter - in other words, lines of four iambuses alternate with lines of three.’
    • ‘They consist of a collection of seventeen poems in different versions of the iambus, the metre traditionally associated with lampoon.’
    • ‘The aural effect, then, is that the second and last feet are always heard as true iambuses, while the first and/or third may be spondees.’
    • ‘For example, an iamb / iambus or iambic foot is represented by an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one.’



/īˈambəs/ /aɪˈæmbəs/


Late 16th century Latin, from Greek iambos ‘iambus, lampoon’, from iaptein ‘attack verbally’ (because the iambic trimeter was first used by Greek satirists).