A rhyme occurs when two or more words have similar sounds. Typically, this happens at the end of the words, but this isn't always the case. Review several of the many types of rhymes along with rhyme examples for each type.
Different Types of Rhymes
Poetry is a beautiful form of expression. Just as there are numerous kinds of poetry, there are also many types of rhymes.
Assonance in Rhyme
Assonance involves using repeated vowel sounds in words that are close to each other. It is sometimes referred to as a slant rhyme. There are many examples of assonance in poetry. This technique is also common in literature and prose. The following word combinations illustrate assonance.
- tip, slip and limp
- that, spat and bat
- bow, no and home
Consonance in Rhyme
Consonance involves repeating consonant sounds in words that are close together. There are many examples of consonance, including:
- dump, dame and damp
- meter, miter and metric
- mile, mole and meal
Dactyl meter is a rhyming pattern in which the first syllable is stressed and followed by two unstressed syllables. Words of at least three syllables can be dactylic on their own. Lines of poetry with shorter words can be dactylic as well. What matters is that the pattern of stressed syllable, unstressed syllable, unstressed syllable is followed.
- cacophonies (single word)
- hickory, dickory, dock (line of a poem)
Eye rhyme is based on spelling and not sound. It refers to words with similar spellings that look as if they would rhyme when spoken, yet are not pronounced in a way that actually rhymes. Example of eye rhyme word pairs include:
- move and love
- cough and bough
- food and good
- death and wreath
Feminine rhyme occurs when a word has two or more syllables that rhyme with each other. This type of rhyme is also referred to as double, triple, multiple, extra-syllable, or extended rhyme. Examples of feminine rhyme word pairs include:
- backing and hacking
- tricky and picky
- moaning and groaning
- generate and venerate.
Also called alliteration or initial rhyme, head rhyme has the same initial consonant at the beginning of the words. There are many examples of alliteration in poems. Head rhyme is also common in literature. Word pairs that illustrate head rhyme include:
- blue and blow
- sun and sand
- merry and monkey
Identical rhyme is rhyming a word with itself by using the exact same word in the rhyming position. In some cases, the repeated word refers to a different meaning. For example:
- day by day, until the break of day
- I'll find my way, come what may / There must be a better way / No barriers do I see in the way
Another example is the way the word ground is used in Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could not Stop for Death."
"We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground —
The Roof was scarcely visible —
The Cornice — in the Ground."
With internal rhyme, rhyming occurs within lines of poetry. Sometimes the rhyming happens within a single line of poetry, but not always.
- Every day I say I wonder, if I may
- What could have been if only I were let in
- A new outcome perhaps, at least for some
- "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary" (from "The Raven," by Edgar Allen Poe)
With light rhyme, one syllable is stressed and another is not. Examples include:
- frog and dialog
- mat and combat
Macaronic rhyme is a technique that rhymes words from different languages. Below, English words are on the left and words from other languages that rhyme with them are on the right.
- favor and amor
- sure and kreatur
- lay and lei
- guitar and sitar
With masculine rhyme, the rhyme is based on a single stressed syllable in both words. Examples that illustrate masculine rhyme include:
- support and report
- dime and sublime
- divulge and bulge
Near rhyme goes by several different names. This type of rhyme is also referred to as half, approximate, off, oblique, semi, or slant rhyme. It rhymes the final consonants of words, but not the vowels or initial consonants. Because the sounds do not exactly match, this type of rhyme is considered an imperfect rhyme. Examples include:
- blueprint and abhorrent
- quick and back
- fun and mean
- climb and thumb
Sometimes called exact, full or true, a perfect rhyme is the typical rhyme where the ending sounds match exactly. Examples include:
- cat and hat
- egg and beg
- ink and pink
- boo and true
- soap and hope
Rich rhymes involve words that are pronounced the same but are not spelled alike and have different meanings. In other words, rich rhymes feature terms that are homonyms. Examples include:
- raise and raze
- break and brake
- vary and very
- lessen and lesson
Scarce rhyme is a type of imperfect rhyme used for words that have very few other words that rhyme with them. For example, not a lot of words sound like different.
- wisp rhymed with lips
- motionless with oceanless
Syllabic rhyme involves rhyming the last syllable of words. It is also called tail rhyme or end rhyme.
- sliver and cleaver
- litter and latter
Wrenched rhyme is an imperfect rhyme pattern. It rhymes a stressed with an unstressed syllable.
- caring and wing
- lady and a bee
Using Rhyme Schemes in Verse
The different types of rhymes can be used in all types of poems and prose. Many include more than one type. Be on the lookout for different rhyme scheme examples in poems.
- Alternating rhyme features an ABAB pattern. It is also referred to as crossed rhyme or interlocking rhyme.
- Intermittent rhyme is a pattern in which every other line rhymes.
- Envelope rhyme or inserted rhyme has an ABBA rhyming pattern.
- Irregular rhyme does not have a fixed pattern to the rhyming. This is common in free verse poetry.
- Sporadic rhyme or occasional rhyme has an unpredictable pattern with mostly unrhymed lines.
- Thorn rhyme features a line that does not rhyme in a passage that would be expected to rhyme based on the pattern of the poem.
Explore Poetry Techniques
Now that you know about many different types of rhymes, take a deeper dive into literary devices commonly used in poetry. Start by discovering the various sound devices used in poetry. From there, explore alliteration vs. assonance vs. consonance in poetry to expand your knowledge.