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Sometimes you'll see in poetry or song lyrics, that words don't exactly rhyme, but they almost rhyme. I thought I remembered a high school English teacher once telling our long ago English class that there was a word that means "almost rhymes".

Am I imagining things? If not, does anyone know the word?

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3 Answers 3

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It is called half-rhyme.

...is a type of rhyme formed by words with similar but not identical sounds. In most instances, either the vowel segments are different while the consonants are identical, or vice versa. [Wikipedia]

It also has a bunch of other names:

  • near-rhyme
  • lazy rhyme
  • approximate rhyme
  • inexact rhyme
  • imperfect rhyme (in contrast to perfect rhyme)
  • off rhyme
  • analyzed rhyme
  • suspended rhyme.
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  • I usually hear it as approximate rhyme.
    – IchabodE
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 0:00
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I think assonance is close to what you are looking for: (from TFD)

  • similarity of sounds in words or syllables.

  • resemblance of sound, especially of the vowel sounds in words, as in: "that dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea" (William Butler Yeats).

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The words which are not exactly rhymes are called imperfect rhymes in which we stress
between a rhyme and an unstressed syllable.e.g,swing,ring, wing, caring etc. Other rhymes which are not perfect rhymes

1) weak rhyme

2) semi-rhyme

3) forced rhyme

4) slant rhyme

In perfect rhymes we have to make some efforts to identify their pronunciation if
somebody speaks it frequently (picky, tricky) but in imperfect rhymes we have to make
very less efforts(wing, caring)

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