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iamb

[ahy-am, ahy-amb] /ˈaɪ æm, ˈaɪ æmb/
noun, Prosody
1.
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.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; short for iambus
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for iamb

iamb

/ˈaɪæm; ˈaɪæmb/
noun (prosody) (pl) iambs, iambi (aɪˈæmbaɪ), 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
Word Origin
C19 iamb, from C16 iambus, from Latin, from Greek iambos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for iamb
n.

1842, from French iambe (16c.), from Latin iambus, from Greek iambos (see iambic). Iambus itself was used in English in this sense in 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for iamb

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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