Take this for example:

In this video, at 1:04 to 1:10, the person goes on rapping with a rhyming word at the end of each line, but he pauses before the end of the last word and, being humans, we predict the next word (due to the hint from the rhyme) that he is going to say but he avoids it intentionally. Is there a word or phrase for this word play?

...and the beat still knocks when I sort my socks
I'm five foot eleven of sex
from the tip of my head to my gorgeous...

Not the best example I could find but I think it sums up my point quite well.

  • 1
    I didn't watch the video, but the term "misdirection" comes to mind. "Lyrical misdirection" might be a name for what you're talking about. Commented May 6, 2014 at 13:38
  • I can't view the video because of country restrictions but a Broken rhyme or Split rhyme [is a form of rhyme. It is produced by dividing a word at the line break of a poem to make a rhyme with the end word of another line.][1] [1]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_rhyme
    – Third News
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 14:17
  • @ThirdNews - I do not see that is more than just related. See the update with the rhyme
    – mplungjan
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 16:42
  • I'm insure of the type of rhyme without access to the text -just a guess
    – Third News
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


Mind rhyme/subverted rhyme/teasing rhyme [Wikipedia] comes to mind (pun intended)

One very hot day in the summer last year
A young man was seen swimming round Brighton Pier;
He dived underneath it and swam to a rock
And amused all the ladies by shaking his
Fist at a copper who stood on the shore,
The very same copper who copped him before.
For the policeman to order him out was a farce,
For the cheeky young man simply showed him his
Graceful manoeuvres and wonderful pace...

Possibly using enjambment (again, Wikipedia)

In poetry, enjambment is incomplete syntax at the end of a line; the meaning runs over from one poetic line to the next, without terminal punctuation.

  • 1
    Brings back memories of the novelty tune "The Shaving Cream Song" (I think that's the title). It enjoys a period of airplay every few decades. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaving_Cream_%28song%29
    – Phil Perry
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 14:14
  • I've bowed to political correctness / the answer police and deleted my non-answer. I hope someone affords Tolkien's example the honour it deserves: Naughty little fly. / Why does he cry? / Caught in a web. / Soon you'll be ... ...Eaten. Commented May 7, 2014 at 14:35
  • 1
    I always think the best example of this is from the film "Oh What a Lovely War", British squaddies in the trenches singing It was Christmas Day in the Cookhouse
    – WS2
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 16:57
  • 1
    Of for a more contemporary example, "Welcome to Duloc" from Shrek Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 11:21
  • 1
    @JulianaKarasawaSouza Alas only one line: youtube.com/watch?v=LUHGyZQHp8I&t=83s
    – mplungjan
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 11:31

They are called "tease songs".

In "tease songs," also known on the renaissance faire circuit as "clean songs," the meter and rhyme-scheme convince you you're about to hear something dirty... but then you don't.

The Clean Song by Oscar Brand is the most famous example that I know. It goes like this:

There once was a Sailor who looked through a glass
And spied a fair mermaid with scales on her... island.
Where seagulls flew over their nest.
She combed the long hair which hung over her... shoulders.
And caused her to tickle and itch.
The sailor cried out "There's a beautiful... mermaid.

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