A rhyme is a reiteration of akin-sounding words, which are traditionally located at the end of two lines in a verse. It’s one of the main devices in lyric poetry and a mandatory component in several poetic forms.

This tool is essential for establishing the rhythmical structure of a poem, and for tying together individual lines that create a unified verse. In most cases, rhyming is ensured by the correspondence of the emphasized syllables and adjoining letters.

There are two versions of this term’s origin. According to the first one, it derives from the French “rime,” which itself was a derivation from the Greek word “arithmos” meaning “number.” The second version suggests that the term “rhyme” came directly from Ancient Greece, as “rhythmos” was the original form.

As a literary tool, a rhyme is frequently confused with rhythm. Even though the former is one of the key elements that help create the latter, they are distinct tools. In lyric poetry, rhythm is a logical alternation of similar entities that help divide a piece into separate parts, known as lines and verses. It can be created using different means, and a rhyme is one of the primary ones. Another distinction between these two terms is that a rhyme also adds a melodic sounding to a piece, while rhythm doesn’t possess this function.

The primary purpose of this tool is to make a poem sound more pleasing to the ear and simplify the processes of understanding and reflecting for the reader. Rhyming lines both separate and unify verses, making it easier to follow different thoughts, while simultaneously adding a coherent look to a poem form-wise.

This device can also be used to send the tone of a piece, as both the words used and the rhythmical structure established thanks to this tool can help the author convey such emotions as melancholy, joy, mourning, etc.

This literary device influences the subconscious of the reader since when they hear the second rhyming line, their brain immediately recalls the content of the first one, making them compare and analyze the meaning of such a union.

Another feature of this tool is that its lines have to be situated in close vicinity to each other. Studies have shown that if rhymed lines are separated by more than three strings of text, most readers won’t perceive them as rhyming anymore.

Depending on the position of the emphasized syllable and on the positioning of the rhyming lines, researchers distinguish numerous types of this device in lyric poetry. Rhymes representing two closely sounding line endings that have the emphasized syllable in the same place and different articulation prior to that syllable are defined as perfect rhymes.

If the latter requirement is not met, then such a rhyme is called an identical one (For example: leave – believe). This subtype is acknowledged to be inferior when compared to other kinds, as from aesthetic and psychological standpoints words that have almost the same articulation get a weaker reaction from the reader.

Perfect rhymes, in turn, are divided into masculine, feminine, and dactylic subtypes. Masculine ones occur when the last syllables of the rhyming lines are emphasized, while feminine rhymes place the emphasis on the penultimate syllables. Dactylic rhymes happen in words of three and more syllables where the antepenultimate one is stressed and the rest are unstressed.

Imperfect rhymes are also subdivided into different groups, depending on the phonetic correspondence. Thus, researchers classify the following types: 
●Syllabic. Occurs when the last syllables of two lines sound alike but don’t have a stressed vowel (beaver - clever).  
●Assonance. Relies on words sharing the same vowel (lie - die).
●Consonance. Contains words that possess identical consonant sounds (bitter - better).
●Alliteration. Deals with words that repeat the initial consonant phonemes (seen - seek).

Ordinarily, poets diversify their works and use multiple types in a single poem. However, there are also authors that strive to maintain a clean style and write entire pieces in masculine, feminine or dactylic rhymes.

Regarding positioning, poets have the option to create either a tail, internal, holorime, cross, or an eye rhyme. A tail rhyme is the most widely spread kind in English-language poems, where the last syllables of lines rhyme:

Hector the Collector    

Collected bits of string.

Collected dolls with broken heads

And rusty bells that would not ring.

An internal rhyme is found when a pair of closely sounding words is placed in the same string of a text. For example, “Oh, I distinctly remember, it was in the bleak December.” Cross rhyming relies on aligning the last syllables of intervening lines. A holorime occurs when two lines rhyme with each other completely.

An eye rhyme can be found in verse lines where both words have similar spelling on paper, but don’t sound alike when pronounced out loud (over - discover). Even though some writers rely on this technique, the consensus is that this rhyming style is less effective, as lyric poetry works are mostly judged by how they sound, and not by their visual appearance.

The Summary
A rhyme is a literary tool based on the close sounding of the words placed at the end of two or more verse lines. The term itself derived either from the French “rime” or the Ancient Greek word “rhythmos.” Based on its position in a verse, a rhyme can be classified into a tail, internal, holorime, cross, or an eye one.

This device serves to add a rhythmical organization to a literary work and to make it more pleasingly sounding and easier to memorize for the reader. This tool is also used to set the tone of a poem and highlight its essential parts.