Feminine Rhyme: Definition & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Feminine rhyme occurs when the second-to-last and last syllables in two words rhyme. Learn the definition of feminine rhyme and explore examples of this literary device in popular American songs. Updated: 10/09/2021

Definition of Feminine Rhyme

Feminine rhymes happen when the next-to-last syllable makes a rhyming sound with the next-to-last syllable from another word. The last syllables in both words sound exactly the same. Before we can fully understand feminine rhyme, however, we should take a look at the more widely used masculine rhyme.

Most poems that contain rhyme use masculine rhyme. In these rhymes, the final, stressed syllable in the word is the one that rhymes. For example, 'annoy' and 'destroy' have masculine rhyme because their second syllables rhyme. In one syllable words, any rhyme is masculine. So 'cat' rhymes with 'rat' in the masculine way. 'Boy' also has a masculine rhyme with 'destroy'. In this case, the last syllable of each word is the loud one, and that's what creates the rhyme.

With feminine rhyme, the syllable that's doing the rhyming is the second-to-last syllable, and the ends of the rhyming words must have the same sound. Words like 'label' and 'table' have a feminine rhyme. The first syllables are louder, and they rhyme with each other, while the second syllables are softer and make the same sound.

Another pair of words that have a feminine rhyme would be 'sleeping' and 'creeping'. They have the same sound at the end, and the second to last syllable is what makes the rhyme. Because there are two syllables involved, sometimes feminine rhyme is called double rhyme.

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Examples of Feminine Rhyme

Some famous songs use feminine rhyme. Here's one:

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni

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