Slant Rhyme in Poetry: Definition & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jacob Erickson

Jacob has his master's in English and has taught multiple levels of literature and composition, including junior high, college, and graduate students.

In this lesson, we'll explore slant rhymes, which are sometimes called half rhymes or near rhymes. After we look at a formal definition and some examples of slant rhyme, there is a short self-assessment quiz that you can take. Updated: 05/27/2021

Slant Rhymes

Have you ever read a poem or heard a song that used two words that don't quite rhyme? It can be difficult to switch from a perfect rhyme scheme to one that has words that barely sound similar. This type of rhyme scheme is known as a slant rhyme. Let's take a look at the rhymes in two different stanzas from Emily Dickinson's Not any Higher Stands the Grave:

'Not any higher stands the Grave
For Heroes than for men--
Not any nearer for the Child
Than numb Three Score and Ten--' (1-4)

Notice how 'men' and 'ten' rhyme perfectly? This, of course, is a perfect rhyme. Compare this to the next stanza, which uses the same rhyme scheme:

'This latest Leisure equal lulls
The Beggar and his Queen
Propitiate this Democrat
A Summer's Afternoon.' (5-8)

Along with her reclusive nature, many readers originally found the slant rhyme in the poetry of Emily Dickinson odd. It's quite obvious that 'queen' and 'afternoon' both end with similar sounds, but don't rhyme. This imperfect rhyme is a slant rhyme, sometimes called a half rhyme or near rhyme. A more technical distinction between a full rhyme and a slant rhyme is that a full rhyme has a repetition in both the final consonant and the preceding vowel or consonant, while a slant rhyme has a repetition in the final consonant, but not in the preceding vowel or consonant.

You won't find much slant rhyme in poetry that came before the mid-19th century, but it is very common in the poetry of the 20th century. Contemporary poets frequently use slant rhyme to give themselves a greater range and freedom in the words that they use, as well as to produce a desired feeling in the poem.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Lyric Poetry: Definition, Types & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Slant Rhymes
  • 1:54 Examples of Slant Rhyme
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Examples of Slant Rhyme

While it's fair to say that Emily Dickinson was famous for using slant rhymes, it was W. B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins who made them particularly popular. Here's an example from Yeats' Easter 1916:

'I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.' (1-4)

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account