The most common meter in English verse. It consists of a line ten syllables long that is accented on every second beat (see blank verse). These lines in iambic pentameter are from The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare:
Ĭn sóoth,/Ĭ knów/nŏt whý/Ĭ ám/sŏ sád.
Ĭt wéa/riĕs mé;/yŏu sáy/ĭt wéa/riĕs yóu....
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.