Feminine rhyme

Feminine rhyme

A feminine rhyme is a rhyme that matches two or more syllables, usually at the end of respective lines. Often the final syllable is unstressed.

Feminine rhyme in poetry


Feminine rhyme is relatively rare in English poetry and usually appears as a special effect. However, the Hudibrastic relies upon feminine rhyme for its comedy, and limericks will often employ outlandish feminine rhymes for their humor. Irish satirist Jonathan Swift wrote most of his poetry using feminine rhyme.

William Shakespeare's Sonnet number 20, uniquely among the sonnets, makes use exclusively of feminine rhymes:

A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion...
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

J. R. R. Tolkien makes the use of internal and external triple syllable rhymes in some of the poems and songs contained within his epic novel The Lord of the Rings:

at last he came to Night of Naught,
and passed, and never sight he saw
of shining shore nor light he sought.


In French verse, a feminine rhyme is one in which the final syllable is a "silent" e, even if the word is masculine. In classical French poetry, two feminine rhymes cannot occur in succession.

Feminine rhyme in music

Hip hop

In hip hop music, especially since the 1990s, the use of feminine rhyme in rapping (often referred to by the colloquial terms "multis" or "multirhymes" — a contraction of "multisyllabic rhymes") is considered a sign of technical skill, and rap artists (such as Big Pun, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Big L, Kool G Rap, Chamillionaire, Dr. Dre, Redman, and R.A. The Rugged Man) have been known to string together large sequences of complex rhyme patterns. Eminem made extensive use of the technique in his early work (It's OK; rhymes are marked in bold for clarity):

"Praying for sleep, dreaming with a watering mouth, wishing for a better life for my daughter and spouse, in this slaughtering house, caught up in bouts with the root of all evil. I've seen it turn beautiful people cruel and deceitful, and make them do shit illegal..."


See also

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