Half rhyme

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Half rhyme or slant rhyme, sometimes called near-rhyme or lazy rhyme, is a type of rhyme formed by words with similar but not identical sounds. In most instances, either the vowel segments are different while the consonants are identical, or vice versa. This type of rhyme is also called approximate rhyme, inexact rhyme, imperfect rhyme (in contrast to perfect rhyme), off rhyme, analyzed rhyme, or suspended rhyme.[1][2]

Use in hip hop/rap[edit]

Half rhyme is often used, along with assonance, in rap music. This can be used to avoid rhyming clichés (e.g. rhyming "knowledge" with "college") or obvious rhymes, and gives the writer greater freedom and flexibility in forming lines of verse. Additionally, some words have no perfect rhyme in English, necessitating the use of slant rhyme.[3] The use of half rhyme may also enable the construction of longer multisyllabic rhymes than otherwise possible.

In the following lines from the song "N.Y. State of Mind" by rapper Nas, the author uses half rhyme in a complex cross rhyme pattern:

And be prosperous, though we live dangerous
Cops could just arrest me, blamin’ us, we’re held like hostages

Unconventional Exceptions[edit]

Children's nursery rhyme This Little Piggy displays an unconventional case of slant rhyme. The author rhymes "home" with "none".

This little piggy stayed home...this little piggy had none (re: roast beef).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ian Ousby (23 February 1996). The Cambridge Paperback Guide to Literature in English. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-521-43627-4. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Literary Terms and Definitions S". Web.cn.edu. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  3. ^ "Exploring Modern Day Poetry (aka Hip-Hop)". Retrieved 31 Mar 2014.