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1570s (n.); 1580s (adj.), from Latin iambicus, from Greek iambikos, from iambos "metrical foot of one unaccented followed by one accented syllable," from iaptein "to assail" (in words), literally "to put forth." The meter of invective and lampoon in classical Greek from the time it was used for such by Archilochos, 7c. B.C.E.