1. Christopher McLaren

    Christopher McLaren New Member

    May 25, 2018
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    What do you call the word which starts a rhymes scheme?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Christopher McLaren, Aug 7, 2019.

    Hi there,

    I am not sure if I am in an appropriate forum for this but here goes:

    Does anybody know what a word would be called if it "sets up a rhyme"? So for example:

    I see the Red Sea part in front of me

    I see the desert clouds bleed above me

    I'm with the prophets on the final destiny

    We'll fight the heathens and the ghost enemy

    The word "me" at the end of the first line can't be refered to as a rhyme because it isn't a rhyme, it's a word, but it is then what sets off the chain of the other three rhymes, so what do you call that word? In this case that word is a what? I need a name for it.

    Thank you.
    jannert likes this.
  2. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

    Oct 29, 2018
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    (Forgive me if you already know most or all of this. I tend to be overly thorough.)

    The rhyme at the end of a line is usually referred to simply as the "end rhyme," but this is used more often to indicate that it isn't a mid-line rhyme or part of a far more complex rhyme scheme without an end rhyme. I've never heard of any terms to distinguish between the first and subsequent end rhymes though. Still, you made me curious, so I combed through the Wikipedia pages for "rhyme," "rhyme scheme," "poetry," "line (poetry)" and "line breaks". All I found was what we learned in school years ago. The rhymes are usually referred to in terms of pattern and indicated by letters. Those four lines you have there constitute a monorhyme stanza (AAAA.) If the first pair rhymed and the second pair rhymed but not with each other (probably the most common scheme in western poetry/lyrics,) you'd say it had an AABB rhyme scheme. If they Alternated, ABAB, etc. There are names for most of these too, but they're used less often than the letter system. Anything longer than four lines is usually referred to by six or more letters (i.e. AABB CCDD, ABAB CDCD, AABBCC, ABABCBCB, AABBCCDD, AABBCDECDE,) often with spaces to indicate breaks between shorter stanzas. All of this is still true with repeated words ("me" and "me") and imperfect rhymes ("time" and "line.")

    Even the lines don't seem to have separate names beyond "first" and "second" and so on. If this were the first stanza of a longer poem, you would reference the first "me" by specifying "the end rhyme of the first line in the first stanza (or quatrain, as it so happens in this particular example)"

    I'm sorry if that doesn't help. There may be a name for it, but it would have to be an extremely uncommon term, possibly something in Latin. As technically detailed as you can get with this one (I think) is that it's an end-stop pentameter monorhyme quatrain ("end-stop" indicating that each line is self-conained as opposed to bleeding into the next.) I couldn't discern a traditional or repeated metric pattern, so we can't refer to feet (i.e. iambic, dactylic, etc.) Though the lines have a distinct five-beat feel, so you could definitely get away with calling it pentameter (with varied feet.)

    If you're extra determined, you might find something here:


    If you do find it, update us. I'd love to know.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
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  3. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

    May 21, 2009
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    As the above poster says it appears you’re looking for a term that doesn’t exist... at least it doesn’t as far as I’m aware.

    If you’re simply asking to how it would be referred, then I’d say something like ‘initial rhyme word’. You say it isn’t a rhyme word because it’s the first in the poem, but the poem as a piece makes it so.
    jannert and Rzero like this.
  4. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

    Aug 10, 2013
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    I guess such would fall under the terms ‘assonance’ and ‘alliteration’, like this:

    Many ways in days gone late
    After the haze of midday
    The skyline soft at which we gaze
    Ushers in fires ablaze
    From citadels taken and razed
    Forever away lost in haze.

    Horrible example, but just trying to show how the ‘A’/‘a’ sounds and ‘I’ sounds tie into the use of “ways, days, gaze, haze, ablaze” with “away, sky, midday, after, late, fires, citadels, taken” - so the “ays/aze” is bedded in with the same and/or similar vowel sounds being placed through out so it links the main rhymes. The second to last line is probably the best example of what I mean.

    Repetition of sounds can set the reader up for a rhyme, or the lack of repetition of sounds can, of course, be used to create a differing effect. These things are a matter of trial and error and it is largely not something people pay attention to they just ‘like’ the sound of it but often cannot articulate WHY they do, and don’t much care. It is quite a personal thing too! For example I love the feel of saying “oblong” where others may find it horrible because it sounds ‘blobby’ (?) and ‘thick’. There are word lovers out there that simply cannot fathom that words have ‘texture’ or ‘shape’ so such techniques will work more strongly on some than others.

    I’m no scholar of poetry btw! I just enjoy playing with the euphonic interplay of words.

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