An eye rhyme, also called a visual rhyme or a sight rhyme, is a rhyme in which two words are spelled similarly but pronounced differently. An example is the name of English actor Sean Bean, whose name based on its visual aspect looks like it should be pronounced "Seen Been", but when spoken, there is no rhyming quality.
Many older English poems, particularly those written in Middle English or written in the Renaissance, contain rhymes that were originally true or full rhymes, but as read by modern readers, they are now eye rhymes because of shifts in pronunciation, especially the Great Vowel Shift. These are called historic rhymes. For example, in Hamlet, "enemies" is used to rhyme with "flies" by the Player King in Act 3 Scene 2.
- "Rhyme". Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (6th Edition (2011): 1. MAS Ultra – School Edition ed.). 2012. p. 23.
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