A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (or the same sound) in two or more words, most often in the final syllables of lines in poems and songs. The word rhyme is also a pars pro toto ("a part (taken) for the whole") that means a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.
1 Function of rhyming words 2 Types of rhyme
2.1 Perfect rhymes 2.2 General rhymes 2.3 Identical rhymes 2.4 Eye rhyme 2.5 Mind rhyme 2.6 Classification by position
4 Rhyme in various languages
4.1 Celtic languages 4.2 Chinese 4.3 English 4.4 French 4.5 Greek 4.6 Hebrew 4.7 Latin 4.8 Portuguese 4.9 Russian 4.10 Polish 4.11 Arabic 4.12 Sanskrit 4.13 Tamil 4.14 Vietnamese
5 See also 6 Notes 7 External links
Function of rhyming words
Rhyme partly seems to be enjoyed simply as a repeating pattern that is
pleasant to hear. It also serves as a powerful mnemonic device,
facilitating memorization. The regular use of tail rhyme helps to mark
off the ends of lines, thus clarifying the metrical structure for the
listener. As with other poetic techniques, poets use it to suit their
own purposes; for example
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The word rhyme can be used in a specific and a general sense. In the specific sense, two words rhyme if their final stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical; two lines of poetry rhyme if their final strong positions are filled with rhyming words. A rhyme in the strict sense is also called a perfect rhyme. Examples are sight and flight, deign and gain, madness and sadness. Perfect rhymes Main article: Perfect rhyme Perfect rhymes can be classified according to the number of syllables included in the rhyme, which is dictated by the location of the final stressed syllable.
single, also known as masculine: a rhyme in which the stress is on the final syllable of the words (rhyme, sublime) double, also known as feminine: a rhyme in which the stress is on the penultimate (second from last) syllable of the words (picky, tricky) dactylic: a rhyme in which the stress is on the antepenultimate (third from last) syllable (cacophonies, Aristophanes)
General rhymes In the general sense, general rhyme can refer to various kinds of phonetic similarity between words, and to the use of such similar-sounding words in organizing verse. Rhymes in this general sense are classified according to the degree and manner of the phonetic similarity:
syllabic: a rhyme in which the last syllable of each word sounds the same but does not necessarily contain stressed vowels. (cleaver, silver, or pitter, patter; the final syllable of the words bottle and fiddle are /l/, a liquid consonant.) imperfect (or near): a rhyme between a stressed and an unstressed syllable. (wing, caring) weak (or unaccented): a rhyme between two sets of one or more unstressed syllables. (hammer, carpenter) semirhyme: a rhyme with an extra syllable on one word. (bend, ending) forced (or oblique): a rhyme with an imperfect match in sound. (green, fiend; one, thumb) assonance: matching vowels. (shake, hate) Assonance is sometimes referred to as slant rhymes, along with consonance. consonance: matching consonants. (rabies, robbers) half rhyme (or slant rhyme): matching final consonants. (Roxie', Lexie) pararhyme: all consonants match. (tell, tall) alliteration (or head rhyme): matching initial consonants. (ship, short)
Identical rhymes Identical rhymes are considered less than perfect in English poetry; but are valued more highly in other literatures such as, for example, rime riche in French poetry. Though homophones and homonyms satisfy the first condition for rhyming—that is, that the stressed vowel sound is the same—they do not satisfy the second: that the preceding consonant be different. As stated above, in a perfect rhyme the last stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical in both words. If the sound preceding the stressed vowel is also identical, the rhyme is sometimes considered to be inferior and not a perfect rhyme after all. An example of such a super-rhyme or "more than perfect rhyme" is the identical rhyme, in which not only the vowels but also the onsets of the rhyming syllables are identical, as in gun and begun. Punning rhymes, such as bare and bear are also identical rhymes. The rhyme may extend even farther back than the last stressed vowel. If it extends all the way to the beginning of the line, so that there are two lines that sound identical, it is called a holorhyme ("For I scream/For ice cream"). In poetics these would be considered identity, rather than rhyme. Eye rhyme Main article: Eye rhyme Eye rhymes or sight rhymes or spelling rhymes refer to similarity in spelling but not in sound where the final sounds are spelled identically but pronounced differently. Examples in English are cough, bough, and love, move. Some early written poetry appears to contain these, but in many cases the words used rhymed at the time of writing, and subsequent changes in pronunciation have meant that the rhyme is now lost. Mind rhyme Main article: Mind rhyme Mind rhyme is a kind of substitution rhyme similar to rhyming slang, but it is less generally codified and is “heard” only when generated by a specific verse context. For instance, “this sugar is neat / and tastes so sour.” If a reader or listener thinks of the word “sweet” instead of “sour,” a mind rhyme has occurred. Classification by position Rhymes may be classified according to their position in the verse:
Tail rhyme (also called end rhyme or rime couée) is a rhyme in the final syllable(s) of a verse (the most common kind). Internal rhyme occurs when a word or phrase in the interior of a line rhymes with a word or phrase at the end of a line, or within a different line. Off-centered rhyme is a type of internal rhyme occurring in unexpected places in a given line. This is sometimes called a misplaced-rhyme scheme or a spoken word rhyme style. Holorime, mentioned above, occurs when two entire lines have the same sound. Broken rhyme is a type of enjambement producing a rhyme by dividing a word at the line break of a poem to make a rhyme with the end word of another line. Cross rhyme matches a sound or sounds at the end of a line with the same sound or sounds in the middle of the following (or preceding) line.
A rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming lines in a poem.
In many languages, including modern European languages and Arabic,
poets use rhyme in set patterns as a structural element for specific
poetic forms, such as ballads, sonnets and rhyming couplets. Some
rhyming schemes have become associated with a specific language,
culture or period, while other rhyming schemes have achieved use
across languages, cultures or time periods. However, the use of
structural rhyme is not universal even within the European tradition.
Much modern poetry avoids traditional rhyme schemes.
The earliest surviving evidence of rhyming is the Chinese Shi Jing
(ca. 10th century BC).
Rhyme is also occasionally used in the
Bible. Classical Greek and
Rejoice, O Judah, and in songs divine With cherubim and seraphim harmonious join.
from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus (libretto by Thomas Morell)
Although historically valid, "Should we really sing 'harmonious
The word derives from
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For Welsh, see cynghanedd
Rhyming in the
Is a Bhríd Óg Ní Mháille [is ə vrʲiːdʲ oːɡ nʲiː wɒːlʲə] 'S tú d'fhág mo chroí cráite [stuː dɒːɡ mə xriː krɒːtʲə]
Oh young Bridget O'Malley
You have left my heart breaking
Here the vowels are the same, but the consonants, although both
palatalized, do not fall into the same class in the bardic rhyming
Further information: Rime dictionary
Besides the vowel/consonant aspect of rhyming, Chinese rhymes often
include tone quality (that is, tonal contour) as an integral
linguistic factor in determining rhyme.
Use of rhyme in
Classical Chinese poetry
The Measure is English Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of
A more tempered view is taken by
W. H. Auden
Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest.
Forced or clumsy rhyme is often a key ingredient of doggerel.
In French poetry, unlike in English, it is common to have identical
rhymes, in which not only the vowels of the final syllables of the
lines rhyme, but their onset consonants ("consonnes d'appui") as well.
To the ear of someone accustomed to English verse, this often sounds
like a very weak rhyme. For example, an English perfect rhyme of
homophones, flour and flower, would seem weak, whereas a French rhyme
of homophones doigt and doit is not only acceptable but quite common.
Rhymes are sometimes classified into the categories "rime pauvre"
("poor rhyme"), "rime suffisante" ("sufficient rhyme"), "rime riche"
("rich rhyme") and "rime richissime" ("very rich rhyme"), according to
the number of rhyming sounds in the two words or in the parts of the
two verses. For example, to rhyme "parla" with "sauta" would be a poor
rhyme (the words have only the vowel in common), to rhyme "pas" with
"bras" a sufficient rhyme (with the vowel and the silent consonant in
common), and "tante" with "attente" a rich rhyme (with the vowel, the
onset consonant, and the coda consonant with its mute "e" in common).
Authorities disagree, however, on exactly where to place the
boundaries between the categories.
Holorime is an extreme example of rime richissime spanning an entire
Gall, amant de la Reine, alla (tour magnanime) Galamment de l'Arène à la Tour Magne, à Nîmes.
Gallus, the Queen's lover, went (a magnanimous gesture) Gallantly from the Arena to the Great Tower, at Nîmes.
Classical French rhyme not only differs from English rhyme in its different treatment of onset consonants. It also treats coda consonants in a distinctive way. French spelling includes several final letters that are no longer pronounced, and that in many cases have never been pronounced. Such final unpronounced letters continue to affect rhyme according to the rules of Classical French versification. They are encountered in almost all of the pre-20th-century French verse texts, but these rhyming rules are almost never taken into account from the 20th century. The most important "silent" letter is the "mute e". In spoken French today, final "e" is, in some regional accents (in Paris for example), omitted after consonants; but in Classical French prosody, it was considered an integral part of the rhyme even when following the vowel. "Joue" could rhyme with "boue", but not with "trou". Rhyming words ending with this silent "e" were said to make up a "double rhyme", while words not ending with this silent "e" made up a "single rhyme". It was a principle of stanza-formation that single and double rhymes had to alternate in the stanza. All 17th-century French plays in verse alternate single and double alexandrine couplets. The "silent" final consonants present a more complex case. They, too, were considered an integral part of the rhyme, so that "pont" could rhyme only with "vont" and not with "long"; but this cannot be reduced to a simple rule about the spelling, since "pont" would also rhyme with "rond" even though one word ends in "t" and the other in "d". This is because the correctness of the rhyme depends not on the spelling on the final consonant, but on how it would have been pronounced. There are a few simple rules that govern word-final consonants in French prosody:
The consonants must "rhyme" give or take their voicing. So "d" and "t" rhyme because they differ only in voicing. So too with "g" and "c", and "p" and "b", and also "s" and "z" (and "x"). (Rhyming words ending with a silent "s" "x" or "z" are called "plural rhymes".) Nasal vowels rhyme no matter what their spelling. ("Essaim" can rhyme with "sain", but not with "saint" because the final "t" counts in "saint".) If the word ends in a consonant cluster, only the final consonant counts. ("Temps" rhymes with "lents" because both end in "s".)
In fact, only the "silent" final consonants that can be pronounced the same way if followed by a vowel, are able to rhyme together. Greek
See Homoioteleuton rhyme
Ancient Hebrew rarely employed rhyme, e.g. in Exodus 29 35: ועשית
לאהרן ולבניו כָּכה, ככל אשר צויתי
אֹתָכה (the identical part in both rhyming words being / 'axa/
Rhyme became a permanent - even obligatory - feature of poetry in
Hebrew language, around the 4th century CE. It is found in the Jewish
liturgical poetry written in the
O Fortunatam natam me consule Romam.
O fortunate Rome, to be born with me consul
But tail rhyme was not used as a prominent structural feature of Latin
poetry until it was introduced under the influence of local vernacular
traditions in the early Middle Ages. This is the
Dies irae, dies illa Solvet saeclum in favilla Teste David cum Sybilla
The day of wrath, that day which will reduce the world to ashes, as foretold by David and the Sybil.
Medieval poetry may mix
rima pobre (poor rhyme): rhyme between words of the same grammatical category (e.g. noun with noun) or between very common endings (-ão, -ar); rima rica (rich rhyme): rhyme between words of different grammatical classes or with uncommon endings; rima preciosa (precious rhyme): rhyme between words with a different morphology, for example estrela (star) with vê-la (to see her); rima esdrúxula (odd rhyme): rhyme between proparoxytonic words (example: última, "last", and vítima, "victim").
Russian Rhyme was introduced into Russian poetry in the 18th century. Folk poetry had generally been unrhymed, relying more on dactylic line endings for effect. Rhyme depends on a vowel and adjacent consonant (which may include the semivowel Short I). Vowel pairs rhyme - even though non-Russian speakers may not perceive them as the same sound. Consonant pairs rhyme if both are devoiced. Early 18th century poetry demanded perfect rhymes that were also grammatical rhymes—namely that noun endings rhymed with noun endings, verb endings with verb endings, and so on. Such rhymes relying on morphological endings become much rarer in modern Russian poetry, and greater use is made of approximate rhymes. Polish In Polish literature rhyme was used from the beginning. Unrhymed verse was never popular, although sometimes it was sometimes imitated form Latin. Homer's, Virgil's and even Milton's epic poems were furnished with rhymes by Polish translators. Because of paroxytonic accentuation in Polish, feminine rhymes always prevailed. Rules of Polish rhyme were established in 16th century. Then only feminine rhymes were allowed in syllabic verse system. Together with introducing syllabo-accentual metres, masculine rhymes began to occur in Polish poetry. They were most popular at the end of 19th century. The most frequent rhyme scheme in Old Polish (16th - 18th centuries) was couplet aabbccdd..., but Polish poets, having perfect knowledge of Italian language and literature, experimented with other schemes, among others ottava rima (abababcc) and sonnet (abba abba cdc dcd or abba abba cdcd ee).
Wpłynąłem na suchego przestwór oceanu, Wóz nurza się w zieloność i jak łódka brodzi, Śród fali łąk szumiących, śród kwiatów powodzi, Omijam koralowe ostrowy burzanu.
Across sea-meadows measureless I go, My wagon sinking under grass so tall The flowery petals in foam on me fall, And blossom-isles float by I do not know.
—Adam Mickiewicz, "Stepy akermańskie", Sonety krymskie, lines 1-4 —"The Ackerman Steppe", Sonnets from the Crimea, translated by Edna Worthley Underwood
The metre of Mickiewicz's sonnet is the Polish alexandrine
(tridecasyllable, in Polish "trzynastozgłoskowiec"): 13(7+6) and its
rhymes are feminine: [anu] and [odzi].
Rhymes were widely spread in the
Glossary of poetry terms
An Introduction to Rhyme
List of English words without rhymes
Rhyme in rap
Rhyming slang (e.g. Cockney rhyming slang)
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^ "Rhyming and Songwriting". michael-thomas.com. Retrieved
^ a b c Stillman, Frances (1966). The Poet's Manual and Rhyming
Dictionary. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0500270309.
^ "Old Testament survey: the message, form, and background of the Old
Testament pg. 236"
^ Wesling, Donald (1980). The chances of rhyme. University of
California Press. pp. x–xi, 38–42.
^ "Bernard of Morlaix - METRE AND RHYME". prosentient.com.au.
^ Aristophanes; Slavitt, D.R.; Bovie, S.P. (1999). Aristophanes, 2:
Wasps, Lysistrata, Frogs, The Sexual Congress. University of
Pennsylvania Press, Incorporated. p. 4. ISBN 9780812216844.
^ "Article about early Irish literature by Prof. Douglas Hyde in The
^ Menocal, Maria Rosa (2003). The Arabic Role in Medieval Literary
History. University of Pennsylvania. p. 88.
^ Sperl, Stefan, ed. (1996).
Look up Rhymes:English or Special:PrefixIndex/Rhymes:English in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rhymes.
Directory of rhyming dictionaries at the Open Directory Project Querying rhyming words in WolframAlpha
Look up Category:English rhymes or Category:Rhymes in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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