An iambic line of prose or poetry is one that consists of iambs. Got it? No, well let's try: an iamb is two consecutive syllables where the first is unstressed, the second stresed, as in "de-DUM." It's that simple.

What do you get if you put five iambs together? No, it's not a joke, it's iambic pentameter (penta from the Greek for "five") as in: "de-DUM, de-DUM, de-DUM, de-DUM, de-DUM." It sounds better as: "If MU-/-sic BE / the FOOD / of LOVE,/ play ON." Now that's poetry. If iambic pentameter was good enough for Shakespeare, Milton, and Donne, then maybe you should give it a try.

Definitions of iambic

adj of or consisting of iambs

iambic pentameter”

n a verse line consisting of iambs

Type of:
verse, verse line
a line of metrical text

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.