Guide to Literary Terms

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What is the definition of rhyme?

The definition of rhyme is the presence of similar-sounding syllables in close proximity.


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Last Updated May 26, 2023.

In literary terms, rhyme refers to the repetition of similar sounds at the end of lines in a poem or verse. Rhyme is a prominent poetic device used to create musicality, rhythm and enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of a poem. It can occur in various forms, such as end rhyme (rhyme at the end of lines), internal rhyme (rhyme within a line), or even across multiple stanzas.


The word rhyme comes from the Old French rime, which has the same meaning as above. 


In this quote from William Blake's poem "The Tyger," we can observe end rhyme in action:


Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 

In the forests of the night

This quote exemplifies how rhyme can enhance poetry's lyrical and aesthetic aspects, enriching the reader's experience. The repetition of the "ite" sound in the words "bright" and "night" creates a rhyme scheme, contributing to the poem's musicality. The rhyme adds a melodic quality to the verses and draws attention to the vivid imagery and symbolism of the "Tyger."


see: poetrycouplet

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