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In other words, does rhyming work reflexively?

Do "potato" and "potato" rhyme?

Is the following (admittedly cumbersome) limerick valid?

An issue with rhymes confused me much
So I used the internet as a crutch
I went to a site
The Stack Exchange site
And used it as my crutch

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Edward Lear, who popularized limericks, did frequently rhyme a word with itself, but usually in the first and last line of the poem. –  aedia λ Oct 20 '11 at 1:51
I wanted to know if a rhyme/Could repeat the last word as a rhyme/So I made up a rhyme/That ended in 'rhyme'/And queried the state of the rhyme. –  Sven Yargs Jul 29 '14 at 16:45
It doesn't work. Nobody knows why. But there are theories. –  John Lawler Apr 13 at 22:07
Didn't want to hijack the question, but how about something a little bit more like Edward Lear? "I found rhymes confused me so much / That I searched far and wide for a crutch. / I found I could cite / The Stack Exchange site / Which I thought very good as a crutch." Feel free to use that if you like. –  Andrew Leach Apr 14 at 7:14

3 Answers 3

By the formal definition of 'rhyme' (matching the last few sounds), yes, a word rhymes with it self.

But to actually use it in a poem is jarring in its lack of imagination. So it violates the rules of artfulness.

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Agreed. In the case of the OP's limerick, it also violates the conventional limerick format. –  Erik Kowal Jul 29 '14 at 7:23
Do you have a source for this formal definition of rhyme? I can imagine defining "rhyme" in such a way as to exclude identical words. –  sumelic May 12 at 22:41
@sumelic In fact most definitions I find from a quick search are along the lines of "a word that has the same sound as another." which would imply different rather than the same to me. –  Martin Smith May 12 at 23:03

it can but when doing a limerick has to rhyme with a word other than itself. Plus, limericks have to go in a 8-9, 8-9, 5-6, 5-6, 8-9 syllable format. Yours is a 9, 10, 5, 5, 6

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I guess your format could be right that is just how I learned to do it. –  Joe Father May 12 at 22:41
Just for the record, my poem from last year (see the comments under the OP's question) totally satisfies the syllable requirements that Joe Father identifies here. I admit that the meter isn't perfect—but it rhymes. –  Sven Yargs May 12 at 22:55
Counting syllables works for haiku, But for limericks it just won't do. Look at this poor sample As a bad example. Limericks of iambs are untrue. –  Peter Shor May 13 at 1:36
@Peter Shor I recommend a trip to Blarney Castle. ASAP. –  Edwin Ashworth Sep 30 at 18:50

No, a word doesn't rhyme with itself. Both are the same word, so therefore it's just repetitive. You only think it rhymes because you hear the exact same sound.

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Hearing the same sound is one (reasonable) definition of a rhyme. –  Andrew Leach Apr 13 at 21:08
@AndrewLeach - No, because if a word has too much of the same sound it doesn't rhyme, to the "normal" ear. –  Hot Licks Apr 13 at 23:07

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