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What Is Masculine Rhyme?

By Maggie Worth
Updated May 17, 2024
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A masculine rhyme is one in which only a single syllable is rhymed. Most often, this is the final syllable in a given line, and the syllable is usually stressed. It contrasts with feminine rhyme, in which both syllables of the final word are rhymed. Masculine rhyme is the most common type of rhyme used in English poetry.

Poets use single-syllable words in masculine rhyme. For example, one might rhyme "door" with "floor" or "west" with "best." Words with more than one syllable, however, are often used. For example, behead might be rhymed with dread or commence with defense. As long as the final syllables of the words rhyme, words of any length may be used.

In most cases, the rhyming syllable must be the final stressed syllable. For example, "finding" is not generally considered to rhyme with "talking," even though they have the same final syllable. This is because the first part of each word is the stressed syllable rather than the "ing" part. In France, poets do not count the final syllable of a word if it ends with a silent "e."

The term "single rhyme" may also be used to describe masculine rhyme. Another term is monosyllabic. Still others use the term "simple rhyme."

Masculine rhymes can be used within any rhyming format. In a couplet, the last stressed syllable of the two lines would rhyme. In an "abab" stanza, the final syllables of each "a" line would rhyme, as would the final syllables of each "b" line.

Feminine rhyme, by contrast, requires at least the last two syllables of the words to rhyme. Examples could include "taken" and "bacon" or "blinded" and "minded." This type of rhyme is often called double or triple rhyme and might be referred to as multi- or polysyllabic rhyme.

Many poets alternate masculine rhyme and feminine rhyme within a single poem, while others choose one or the other. Most verse types express no preference, leaving the writer to determine the most effective use of rhyme in a given piece. In classical French poetry, however, two masculine rhymes must never be used in sequence.

Near rhyme is a term used to describe words that almost rhyme. A perfect rhyme is one that matches exactly. For example, "fold" and "hold" are a perfect rhyme, while "folder" and "blower" are a near rhyme. Traditionally, masculine rhyme requires that the rhyme be perfect rather than near.

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Discussion Comments
By PinkLady4 — On Nov 18, 2011

I never really appreciated all that a poet must consider when writing a poem. He doesn't just sit down and write one line after another. He first needs meaning and coming up with words that express his feelings.

Then he must figure out some possible patterns he might use and try them out. Thinking of rhyming words that fit in with the meaning he wants is not easy.

Some of our classic English poetry are truly works of art.

By Bertie68 — On Nov 17, 2011

I'm not familiar with the terms masculine rhyme and feminine rhyme. I just called them single or simple and double rhymes.

At times I have tried to be clever and make up rhymes to teach my adult ESL students about syllables, stress and the rhythm of the English language. I would spend so much time trying to write a rhyme that made sense, followed the rules, and had rhyming words that made sense.

I finally went to some books of rhyme and found some good ones.

By Mykol — On Nov 16, 2011

When I took a college English class, I remember working with different types of rhymes. It was a lot easier to remember what a masculine rhyme definition was when you had an example of it in the textbook.

I actually enjoyed learning about the different types of rhyme and experimenting with using them in writing pieces.

I usually always preferred to use perfect rhymes unless I just couldn't come up with a word that matched. For some reason I always felt like I had to try too hard to come up with near rhymes that really made sense.

If I had to use very many slant rhyme words instead of perfect rhyme words, I would usually change the subject matter instead of struggling to come up with a lot of near rhymes.

By andee — On Nov 16, 2011

While I have never given much thought to masculine or feminine rhyme, I just know it is much easier for some people to rhyme words than others.

This is something that I have always struggled with, while my sister can quickly come up with perfect rhymes for just about any word.

Every year she sends out a Christmas poem that summarizes her families annual events. Just to come up with everything that happened is one thing, but to have it all rhyme is way beyond my comprehension.

She can sit down and put something together like this in a short amount of time, where I would struggle with it for weeks. Even if I used online rhyme dictionaries, I would still have a hard time putting something like this into a story format.

Since this comes so easy for her, she has been asked to make up rhymes for more than one family occasion. She put together a beautiful rhyme for our parents 40th wedding anniversary.

It is amazing to me how she can take something like this and come up with a perfect rhyme every time.

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