Definition: Iambic Pentameter is a type of meter that is common in English poetry and was used by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales as well as Shakespeare in his sonnets. Iambic Pentameter is based on Greek words for types of meters. An iambic foot has a long or stressed syllable following an unstressed or short syllable. Pentameter means that there are five metrical feet per line. Iambic Pentameter, therefore, means the verse has five feet of iambics.
Examples:An example of Iambic Pentameter from Shakespeare is the famous line:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day
(shall)u (I)-/(com)u (pare)-/(thee)u (to)-/(a)u (sum)-/(mer's)u (day)-/
(u for unstressed, - for stressed, and / for the end of a foot.)