5

I was watching a cartoon and part way through a song came on, and it had these two stanzas:

Why do you have to look up to her
Aside from in a literal sense?
Don't you know that a power that big
Comes with a bigger expense?

And can't you see that she's out of control
And overzealous?
I'm telling you for your own good,
And not because I'm-

But in the second stanza the character omits the second half of the rhyming couplet, while keeping to the same five syllables. This is a narrower term than broken/subverted/mind rhyming where the word may be either replaced or omitted: these are hypernyms, but I require a term only referring to cases where the rhyme is omitted.

This is also done in songs where the omitted half of the rhyming is a swear word, often with the intent of the listener completing the intended word mentally.

What is the term for this technique? I don't think it's enjambment as the word doesn't just run over, but ends.

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  • 3
    Tvtopes says Wikipedia says it's called a "mind rhyme." I haven't done research but I'd lazily assume that the existence of these multi-word phrases means that no single word for this phenomenon exists yet. By the way, do you want a single word, or is a phrase also fine? If you want one word, edit your question to tag it with "single-word-requests"; if a phrase is OK, tag with both "single-word-requests" and "phrase-requests." tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion
    – herisson
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 21:16
  • @sumelic mind-rhyme sounds like it fits the bill. If you can source it might make a decent answer. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 21:22
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    Not so. 'A subverted rhyme, teasing rhyme or mind rhyme is the suggestion of a rhyme which is left unsaid and must be inferred by the listener. A rhyme may be subverted either by stopping short, or by replacing the expected word with another ...' [Wikipedia.], my emphasis. Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 16:45
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    You need to re-edit; 'This is distinct from broken/subverted rhyming where the word is replaced not omitted.' is incorrect and should be 'This is a narrower term than broken/subverted/mind rhyming where the word may be either replaced or omitted: these are hypernyms, but I require a term only referring to cases where the rhyme is omitted.' Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 16:59
  • 2
    It's an accurate question now, though probably too narrowly scoped for there to be an answer. Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 17:26

3 Answers 3

8

"mind-rhyme" is the phrase you're looking for. Credit to @sumelic who posted it as comment.

  • Mind rhyme is the suggestion of a rhyme which is left unsaid and must be inferred by the listener. Mind rhyme may be achieved either by stopping short, or by replacing the expected word with another (which may have the same rhyme or not). Teasing rhyme is the use of mind rhyme as a form of innuendo, where the unsaid word is taboo or completes a sentence indelicately.

examples:

There was a young farmer/who took a young miss/to the back of the barn/where he gave her

Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell/ Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to

Hell(o) operator, gimme number nine, And if you disconnect me, I'll chop off your

Behind the refrigerator, there is a piece of glass, And if you slip upon it, you'll fall upon your

Ass(k) me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies, The cows are in the pasture, making chocolate pies!

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  • That's actually a poor example as they finish the rhyme but meld it with another word. That's distinct from what I'm referring to. Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 6:42
  • @Pureferret Except for 5, all other examples are exactly like yours.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 16:30
  • Only the first line fits, as I don't know what the alternative in "where he gave her//Susie" is? Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 16:23
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+250

Wikipedia uses the term “subverted rhyme,” whether continued, substituted, or not. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subverted_rhyme

I know of no word as narrow as what you want.

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    This is the same link as in the previous answer, although theirs now redirects to 'Subverted Rhyme' like yours does. Commented Mar 14 at 21:42
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I believe the answer here would simply be innuendo.

An example given by literarydevices.com shows the following:

Innuendoes in Songs

  • “How many licks does it take till you get to the center of the?” —How Many Licks? by Lil’ Kim, feat. Sisqo

(emphasis mine)

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