Our Free Online Rhyme Dictionary

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What is a Rhyme?

In a nutshell, a rhyme is the repetition of similar or exact-sounding words, usually in the final stressed syllables of a sentence and following sentences containing two or more words. Rhymes typically get found in the final positions of each line in poetry or song lyrics.

Many people will agree that rhymes are a delightful form of expression in the written and spoken word. You may not know it, but there are several different categories of rhymes in use, many of which you will already be familiar with.

You will have also learned about rhymes from a young age, most likely from when you were in kindergarten.

Different Types of Rhymes

Rhyming can come in many forms. Learning the different types of rhymes is a great way for a poet to expand his/her portfolio of knowledge. Where one rhyme type may not work, another might.

Perfect Rhymes

A perfect rhyme is where words sound similar in their final stressed syllable. For example, single or masculine perfect rhymes place stress on the final syllables, whereas double or feminine perfect rhymes place stress on the second from last syllables.

There’s also a third type of perfect rhyme, the dactylic, where the stress gets placed on the third from last syllable (for instance, the words “glamorous” and “amorous”).

Here is a breakdown of the different classes of perfect rhymes:
  • Single, which is also known as "masculine" rhymes, rhymes the last syllable. For example, Car and Far
  • Double, "Feminine". This class is based on the second from the last syllable as in sticky and tricky.
  • Dactylic, this class starts the stress on the third from last syllable.

General Rhymes

In a nutshell, a general rhyme is where there is some phonetic similarity between words. With general rhymes, the classification gets done according to the level of phonetic similarity between words.

  • Syllabic - each syllable of each word sounds the same, but doesn't always contain the same stressed vowels.
  • Near rhymes - Swing and caring
  • Consonance - the consonants match as in rabies and robbers
  • Alliteration - the initial consonants sound the same, chair and chariot

Identical Rhymes

Put simply, an identical rhyme is where the same word gets used twice - for example, using “The” to begin or end two sentences. Sometimes, the word used might have different meanings in each sentence.

Identical rhymes can sometimes get frowned upon in some literary circles as audiences may feel the lines are getting repetitive or that the author is “cheating.”

Mind Rhyme

Sometimes known as subverted rhymes, mind rhymes are a fun way of teasing the reader or audience. That’s because the suggestion of a rhyme stops short, or the expected word gets replaced with another word (which may or may not have the same meaning).

In short, Mind rhyming is substituting an alternate word for word that would make sense in the position. If a person who hears it, automatically substitutes the real word for the substitution, a mind rhyme has occurred.

Eye Rhyme

Eye rhymes are words that end in the same spelling as another but is pronounced different. For example, tough and cough, shove and move.

Position Rhymes

Lastly, position rhymes, as the term suggests, get classified according to their position in verses. For example, a tail rhyme denotes a rhyme located in the final syllables of each verse and is the most common type of position rhyme.

Other types of position rhymes include internal rhymes, where a word in the middle of a verse rhymes with an ending word or phrase, and holorimes, where two lines have the same sound.

What Is a Rhyming Scheme?

As you now know, there are many different types of rhymes. So, when you read a poem or some other rhyming text or listen to a song, how can you distinguish the type of rhyme used by the author? The answer is to use a rhyming scheme.

A rhyming scheme refers to the pattern of rhymes; in essence, it’s a “map” of sorts that shows how the rhyming words get used in verses. Rhyming schemes use a sequence of letters, and there are potentially infinite amounts of rhyming schemes that can get used.

For example:

AAAA denotes a four-line poem (a stanza) where every line has the same rhyme;

ABAB is where two lots of two-line poems where the first and second lines rhyme.