[ahy-am, ahy-amb]
noun Prosody.
a 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

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World English Dictionary
iamb or iambus (ˈaɪæm, ˈaɪæmb, aɪˈæmbəs)
n , pl iambs, iambi, iambuses
1.  a metrical foot consisting of two syllables, a short one followed by a long one (⏓)
2.  a line of verse of such feet
[C19 iamb, from C16 iambus, from Latin, from Greek iambos]
iambus or iambus (ˈaɪæm, ˈaɪæmb, aɪˈæmbəs, aɪˈæmbaɪ)
[C19 iamb, from C16 iambus, from Latin, from Greek iambos]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica


metrical foot consisting of one short syllable (as in classical verse) or one unstressed syllable (as in English verse) followed by one long or stressed syllable, as in the word be|cause . Considered by the ancient Greeks to approximate the natural rhythm of speech, iambic metres were used extensively for dramatic dialogue, invective, satire, and fables. Also suited to the cadence of the English language, iambic rhythms, especially iambic tetrameter and pentameter, are the preeminent metres of English verse. Substitution of other types of feet to add variety is common in basically iambic verse. An example of iambic metre is the English ballad, composed of quatrains written in alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter. For example:

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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