Rhyme

A rhyme is the association of words with similar terminal sounds, a technique most often used in poetry. (Indeed, "a rhyme" is sometimes used to refer to a rhyming couplet or short verse; see nursery rhyme.) While most commonly referring to the sounds of words as spoken, the term has also been applied (as "sight rhyme") to written words which appear alike. In true rhyme, it is the final vowel/consonant combination that are repeated across the rhyming words.

Categories of rhyme include:

  • masculine: stress on final syllable of word. Eg "rhyme", "sublime", "crime"
  • feminine: stress on penultimate syllable of word. Eg "wiki", "tricky", "sticky"
  • triple: all three of a three-syllable word stressed equally
  • perfect: identical in sound
  • oblique (or slant): imperfect match in sound
  • consonance: consonant match. For example: her, dark,
  • assonance: vowel match. For example: shake, bait
  • sight (or eye): similarity in spelling although not sound. Eg "cough", "bough"

Rhyme has different effects in different languages. It was unknown in Latin, until it was introduced under the influence of local vernacular traditions in the early Middle Ages:

''Dies irae, dies illa
''Solvet saeclum in favilla
Teste David cum Sybilla

In English, elaborate rhymes of more than two syllables are termed macaronic and have a comic effect.

In French rime riche— 'rich rhyme' of two syllables— and rime richissime— 'richest rhyme' of more syllables— have been admired in the past.

The most extreme example of rime richissime is:

Gall, amant de la Reine, alla (tour magnanime)
Gallamant de l'Arène à la Tour Magne, à Nimes.

i.e.
Gallus, lover of the Queen, went (magnanimous gesture)
Gallantly from the Arena to the Great Tower, at Nimes.

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