- to end a word in an identical or near identical sound as another word.
- to combine words into combinations that end in identical or near identical sounds.
- one of two or more words that have identical or near identical ending sounds.
- a poetry composition in verse that rhymes.
According to the Wikipedia article on rhyme, the word can still also be spelled rime, as it was originally. It comes from a derivation of a Germanic term meaning series or sequence. The modern spelling arose from an incorrect etymological association with the Greek work for rhythm.
Wikipedia differentiates between perfect rhymes and general rhymes. Strictly speaking only perfect rhymes are true rhymes, but general rhymes are often used in poetry and lyrical verse.
Perfect rhymes occur when the “final stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical”. Perfect rhymes can be further divided into masculine, feminine, and dactylic rhymes. Masculine rhymes occur when the stress is on the final syllable; feminine rhymes place the stress on the second to last syllable; dactylic rhymes place the stress on the third from final syllable.
General rhymes occur when there is a similar sound in words. Generally, this refers to a similar ending sound, but, as in the case of consonance or alliteration, can also refer to other sounds in the word. Super-rhymes have the “sound preceding the stressed vowel also identical”. These rhymes are sometimes called “more than perfect” and therefore fall into the category of general rhymes. Homonyms are considered a unique form of super-rhymes called identical rhymes.
The Wikipedia article also includes an interesting discussion on the use of rhyme in poetry in various languages.
Masculine Rhyme: breaks-takes, hike-bike-strike
Feminine Rhyme: never-clever, grumbling-rumbling
Dactylic Rhyme: gravity-depravity, hickory-dickory
Alliteration: Suzy sells seashells by the sea shore
(Special thanks to Buck and Katie for their discussion of rhymes last month.)