What is Slant Rhyme? Definition, Examples of Slant Rhyme

Slant rhyme definition: Slant rhyme is a type of rhyming where words sound similar but do not rhyme exactly. Slant rhyme is also called imperfect rhyme, near rhyme, or oblique rhyme.

What is Slant Rhyme?

Slant rhyme meaning: Many times poets will create a rhythm with their writing by using words that sound similar but do not rhyme perfectly.

Here are some examples of words that sound similar but do not rhyme exactly:

  • The words “worm” and “swarm” sound similar, but they do not rhyme exactly.
  • The words “fate” and “save” sound similar, but again, they do not rhyme.

Half Rhyme vs. Pararyme, Assonance

While both half rhyme and para-rhyme describe words that do not rhyme perfectly, they are not exactly the same.

Para-rhyme describes words that have the same beginning and ending consonant sounds.

For example,

The words “sold” and “spelled” have similarly consonant sounds both at the beginnings with the “s” sound and at the endings with the “d” sound. By including the same consonant sounds at the beginning and the ending, para-rhyme has been created.

The Function of Slant Rhyme

Slant/half rhyme is often included to create a certain rhythm to a poem without using direct rhyme.

Perfect rhyme often creates a singsong effect in the poetry that some poets may want to avoid and half rhyme is a good alternative to use when still wanting some rhythm.

Examples of Slant Rhyme in Literature

Here are some examples of half rhyme found in poetry:

In Emily Dickinson’s poem “A Bird, came down the Walk,” she includes examples of half rhyme.

Dickinson writes, “He bit an Angle Worm in halves / And ate the fellow raw.”

  • “fellow” and “raw” = example of a half rhyme due to the similar sound these words make when read.

In Wilfred Owen’s poem “Strange Meeting,” he creates half rhyme throughout the verse.

He writes, “It seemed that out of battle I escaped / Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped.”

Within these two lines of verse, there are several examples of half rhyme:

  • “escaped” and “scooped”
  • “Down” and “profound”
  • “dull” and “tunnel”
  • “since” and “scooped”

Summary: What is Half Rhyme?

Define half rhyme: Slant/half rhyme is a rhyming technique used when writing verse to create a rhythm with like sounding words without relying on perfect rhyme to avoid a singsong effect.

Final example,

In Slyvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” half rhyme can be found in the first verse, “In which I have lived like a foot / For thirty years, poor and white, / Barely daring to breathe or Achoo”.

  • “like” and “white” = half rhyme
  • “Barely” and “daring” = half rhyme