In English prosody, the repetition of identical or similar accented sound or sounds. Full or perfect rhyme occurs when differing consonant sounds are followed by identical, accented vowel sounds, and any sounds that may come after are also identical. Foe, toe; meet, fleet; buffer, rougher are perfect rhymes.
Rhyme is classified according to the number of syllables contained in the rhyme as follows: masculine rhyme, in which the final syllables are accented and after differing initial consonants the sounds are identical (lark, stark; support, resort); feminine rhyme, in which accented, rhyming syllables are followed by identical, unaccented syllables (revival, arrival; flutter, butter); and triple rhyme, a kind of feminine rhyme in which accented, rhyming syllables are followed by two identical syllables (machinery, scenery; tenderly, slenderly).
Rhyme is also distinguished according to its position in the poem as follows: end rhyme, in which the rhyme occurs at the ends of lines; internal rhyme, in which at least one rhyme occurs within the line (as in Wilde's " Each narrow cell in which we dwell " ); initial rhyme, in which the rhyme occurs as the first word or syllable of the line; cross rhyme, in which the rhyme occurs at the end of one line and in the middle of the next; and random rhyme, in which the rhymes seem to occur accidentally in any combination of the foregoing, often mixed with unrhymed lines.
Near rhyme or slant rhyme is the repetition of similar sounds instead of identical sounds or the coupling of accented - unaccented sounds that would be perfect rhymes if they were both accented. Because they involve degrees of identity of sound combinations, alliteration, assonance, and consonance are considered to be near rhymes.
Historically, rhyme is a latecomer to poetry, having first come into use in the Western world around ad 200 in the Church Latin of North Africa: rhyme was unknown in classical prosody. It first became popular in medieval Latin poetry. The word rhyme comes from Provencal rim and was originally spelled rime, and still often is. The usual English spelling, rhyme, comes from a false identification with the Greek rhythmos, rhythm.