There's one thing I've seen occasionally in poetry (the only examples that currently spring to mind are from Edgar Allan Poe, but I know I've also seen it elsewhere) where instead of using two different words that rhyme with one another, the last word in two lines is the same and the second-last words in those lines rhyme:

Thou was all that to me, love
For which my soul did pine
A green isle in the sea, love
A fountain and a shrine...


'Wretch!' I cried, 'thy God hath lent thee-
By these angels he hath sent thee-
Respite, respite and nepenthe
From thy memories of Lenore...

Is there a word for this? Or at least some way of describing it better than what I've done here?

(EDIT) Re Chappo's comment: I've tried a few Google queries along the lines of 'poem second-last word rhyme' and looked up a couple analyses of the poems linked above (which were sadly heavy on flowery descriptions of how moving the poems were and low on 'this rhyming device is called such-and-such'). I'm not sure what resources exist for answering questions like this, I'm afraid.

  • Hi Aphyer, welcome to English Language & Usage. I thought this might have been an easy task to look up in Wikipedia, but their entry on "Rhyme" revealed nothing! As a hint though, it's worthwhile describing in your question the research you've done, to distinguish a good question (like yours!) from a lazy one. If you think you might use our site again (and I hope you do), please make sure you take the Tour. :-) Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 2:59
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    Perhaps you might like to refer to syllables rather than words; for example "nepenthe" rhymes too in your second, even though it is one word. Also, it is important that the lines rhyme in both the last and the last but one syllables,
    – anemone
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 3:44
  • This is a feature of a ghazal and it is known as the 'Qaafiya-Radif' rule there. Adding this as a comment because it is not a form of English poetry. Some poets have experimented with English ghazals in the past. Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 12:55

3 Answers 3


Here are a few possibilities that are close:

Feminine rhyme: a rhyme that matches two or more syllables, usually at the end of respective lines, in which the final syllable or syllables are unstressed. It is also commonly known as double rhyme.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminine_rhyme

More generally there are:

Multisyllabic rhymes: multisyllabic rhymes (also known as compound rhymes, polysyllable rhymes, and sometimes colloquially in hip-hop as multies) are rhymes that contain two or more syllables

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multisyllabic_rhymes

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    Hmmm, okay. So I guess what I'm pointing at would be described as 'a multisyllabic rhyme split across multiple words' or something along those lines? That also fits with anemone's comment on the main question -- if you sound out ne-pent-thee syllable-by-syllable all three lines share the same multisyllabic rhyme.
    – aphyer
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 4:18
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    To get specific, I might call it a "multi-word feminine/double/compound rhyme". Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 5:36
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    Interesting. In my native Portuguese, this is the only rhme there is: two lines rhyme if they share the same sound from the last stressed vowel to the end of the line. Hence bri.tâ.ni.co rhymes with pâ.ni.co, but not with he.lé.ni.co or po.lí.ti.co.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 6:58
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    @Jacinto This is generally true in English too (rhymes share the same sound from the last stressed syllable to the end), but I think we may have more words with stress on the last syllable . Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 7:03
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    English has heaps of monosyllables. That helps. Most Portuguese words are stressed in the second-to-last syllable.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 7:13

Penultimate rhyme. (Second to the last syllable carries the rhyme) you find it in many song lyrics

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 0:06

The word you are looking for is ghazal. the final word in each couplet is the same but the last but one words in each stanza rhyme with each other. Judy

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