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Rhyme Glossary: Types, Schemes, and Usage

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Poetry

Have you ever wondered what types of rhymes there are or how to use them? Poetry is a common genre of literature where rhymes are used frequently. Many types of poetry require its authors to use specific rhyme schemes. This article will help explain what that rhyme scheme means and how to use it.

When we first hear the word "rhyme", we automatically think of two words with an end rhyme. Of course, that is definitely the most common. However, there are so many other types! Learn about them below.

Assonant rhyme
Rhyming of similar vowels but different consonants.
example: dip/limp
Consonant rhyme
Similar consonants but different vowels.
example: limp/lump
Eye rhyme
Based on spelling and not on sound.
example: love/move
Feminine rhyme (double, triple, extra-syllable, multi-syllable, extended)
Differing beginnings followed by multiple rhyming syllables.
example: drinking/shrinking
Identical rhyme
Uses the same word to rhyme with itself however may hold a different meaning.
Light line
Rhyming of a stressed syllable with a secondary stress.
example: mat/combat
Macaronic rhyme
Rhyming of two words with different languages.
Masculine rhyme
Differing consonant sounds ending with identically stressed syllables.
example: report/support
Near rhyme (half, slant, approximate, off, oblique)
Final consonant sounds the same but initial consonants and vowel sounds are different.
example: tought/sat
Perfect rhyme (exact, true, full)
Begins with different sounds and end with the same.
example: pie/die
Rich rhyme (French for rime riche)
Word that rhymes with its homonym.
example: blue/blew
Scarce rhyme
Rhyming of words with limited rhyming alternatives.
example: whisp/lisp
Wrenched rhyme
A stressed syllable with an unstressed one (occurs most often in ballads and folk poetry).
example: lady/a bee

Rhymes Scheme and Their Usage

Apocopate rhyme
Rhyming a line and with the penultimate syllable.
Broken rhyme
Rhyme using more than one word or broken over the line and into the next.
Caesural rhyme (interlaced)
Rhymes that occur at the caesura and line end within pairs -- like an abab quatrain printed as two lines.
Crossed rhyme (alternating, interlocking)
Rhyming in abab pattern.
End rhyme (terminal)
Rhymes at the end of a line.
Envelope rhyme (inserted)
Rhyming abba -- like a memoriam stanza.
Initial rhyme (head)
A rhyme at the beginning of a line.
Intermittent rhyme
A rhyme every other line -- like a standard ballad quatrain, xaxa.
Internal rhyme
Rhyme that occurs within a line.
Irregular rhyme
Rhyming in no pattern -- pseudo-pindaric (irregular) ode.
Leonine rhyme (medial)
The rhyme is at the caesura and at the end of the same line -- like a couplet but as one line.
Linked rhyme
Rhyme that depends on completing the rhyme by enjambment over the end line.
Rhyme royal
A seven-line iambic pentameter stanza rhyming ababbcc
Sporadic rhyme (occasional)
Rhyming unpredictably in an unrhymed poem.
Thorn line
Line without a rhyme in a rhymed passage/poem.