The repetition of syllables, typically at the end of a verse line. Rhymed words conventionally share all sounds following the word’s last stressed syllable. Thus “tenacity” and “mendacity” rhyme, but not “jaundice” and “John does,” or “tomboy” and “calm bay.” A rhyme scheme is usually the pattern of end rhymes in a stanza, with each rhyme encoded by a letter of the alphabet, from a onward (ABBA BCCB, for example). Rhymes are classified by the degree of similarity between sounds within words, and by their placement within the lines or stanzas.
-Eye rhyme rhymes only when spelled, not when pronounced. For example, “through” and “rough.”
-End rhyme, the most common type, is the rhyming of the final syllables of a line. See “Midstairs” by Virginia Hamilton Adair:
And here on this turning of the stair
Between passion and doubt,
I pause and say a double prayer,
One for you, and one for you;
And so they cancel out.
-Feminine rhyme applies to the rhyming of one or more unstressed syllables, such as “dicing” and “enticing.” Ambrose Bierce’s “The Day of Wrath” employs feminine rhyme almost exclusively. Half rhyme is the rhyming of the ending consonant sounds in a word (such as “tell” with “toll,” or “sopped” with “leapt”). This is also termed “off-rhyme,” “slant rhyme,” or apophany. See consonance.
-Identical rhyme employs the same word, identically in sound and in sense, twice in rhyming positions.
-Internal rhyme is rhyme within a single line of verse When a word from the middle of a line is rhymed with a word at the end of the line.
-Masculine rhyme describes those rhymes ending in a stressed syllable, such as “hells” and “bells.” It is the most common type of rhyme in English poetry.
-Monorhyme is the use of only one rhyme in a stanza. See William Blake’s “Silent, Silent Night.”
-Pararhyme is poet Edmund Blunden’s term for double consonance, where different vowels appear within identical consonant pairs. For example, see Wilfred Owen’s “Strange Meeting”: “Through granites which Titanic wars had groined. / Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned.”
See also alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia. Browse poems with rhymed stanzas.
Browse through the full archive of Poetry magazine back to 1912.