Half rhyme

Half rhyme

Half rhyme or slant rhyme, sometimes called sprung, near rhyme, oblique rhyme, off rhyme or imperfect rhyme, is consonance on the final consonants of the words involved (e.g. ill with shell). Many half/slant rhymes are also eye rhymes.

Half/slant rhyme is widely used in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Icelandic verse. Half/slant rhyme has been found in English-language poetry as early as Henry Vaughan, but it was not until the works of W. B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins that it found wide use among English-language poets. In the 20th century half/slant rhyme has been used widely by English poets. Often, as in most of Yeats' poems, it is mixed with other devices such as regular rhymes, assonance, and para-rhymes. In the following example the 'rhymes' are on/moon and bodies/ladies:

When have I last looked on
The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies
Of the dark leopards of the moon?
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,
(Yeats, "Lines written in Dejection")

Moses ibn Ezra, 12th century Hebrew poet and poetry theoretician, terms the practice of poets to use half-rhyme "donkey-rhyming".

American poet Emily Dickinson also used half/slant rhyme frequently in her works.[1] In her poem "Hope is the thing with feathers" the half/slant rhyme appears in the second and fourth lines. In the following example the 'rhyme' is soul/all.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

The term 'slant rhyme' has been called into question due to its misleading meaning. A 'slant rhyme' suggests the words rhyme (which they do not) in a slanted fashion as opposed to nearly rhyming or half rhyming.

See also


  1. ^ Lilia Melani (February 24, 2009), Emily Dickinson: An Overview, Department of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/dickinson.html, retrieved 2009-06-22 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • half rhyme — n. SLANT RHYME, esp. when the result of consonance * * * also called  near rhyme,  slant rhyme,  or  oblique rhyme        in prosody, two words that have only their final consonant sounds and no preceding vowel or consonant sounds in common (such …   Universalium

  • half rhyme — n. SLANT RHYME, esp. when the result of consonance …   English World dictionary

  • half rhyme — noun An imperfect rhyme in which consonants agree, but vowels do not Syn: near rhyme, pararhyme …   Wiktionary

  • half rhyme. — See slant rhyme. [1820 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • half rhyme — /ˈhaf raɪm/ (say hahf ruym) noun (in poetry) a rhyme between words with differing vowels, as bees and buzz …   Australian English dictionary

  • half rhyme — noun : a terminal consonance other than rhyme in two or more words (as in the unstressed final syllables of hollow and shallow or the matching terminal consonant clusters of stopped and wept) …   Useful english dictionary

  • half rhyme. — See slant rhyme. [1820 30] …   Useful english dictionary

  • rhyme — [n] poetry in which lines end with like sounds alliteration, beat, cadence, couplet, doggerel, half rhyme, harmony, iambic pentameter, measure, meter, nursery rhyme, ode, poem, poesy, poetry, rhythm, rune, slant rhyme, song, tune, verse, vowel… …   New thesaurus

  • Rhyme — A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words and is most often used in poetry and songs. The word rhyme may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes. Contents 1… …   Wikipedia

  • rhyme — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun 1 using words that have the same sound as each other ADJECTIVE ▪ internal RHYME + NOUN ▪ scheme PREPOSITION ▪ in rhyme …   Collocations dictionary

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