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.

Rhyme

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Last Updated on December 7, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 192

A rhyme occurs when the sounds of multiple syllables in audible proximity are similar or identical. Rhyme is used primarily in poetry and is valued for the way it structures a text and creates pleasing patterns of sound. Rhyme has been a popular structural device in literature since ancient times. Rhyme occurs most prominently in the form of end rhyme, where the final syllables of nearby lines rhyme. Rhyme also occurs in the form of internal rhyme, where multiple syllables within a single line of verse rhyme.

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A rhyme scheme refers to the pattern of rhymes within a poem or other work of verse.

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

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Latest answer posted June 9, 2013, 9:18 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

In the Fourteenth Century, end rhyme replaced alliteration as the usual patterning device of verse in English. The opening quatrain of Shakespeare's sonnet 130 follow an ABAB rhyme scheme:

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red:

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wire, black wires grow on her head.

see: poetry

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