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Midword Rhyme

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Many poems follow some sort of rhyme scheme—AABBA, ABAB etc. This is generally an end rhyme; the rhyming words come at the end of each successive line. Generally the rhyme ends up even, and each line is a complete phrase, if not a complete sentence.

And then... there are these.

If you write out the poem or lyrics in lines, they will rhyme... so long as you cut words between two lines. Or three, but that would get silly.

Tends to overlap with a Least Rhymable Word, as a way of getting around it (without "chilver" or "doorhinge").

Please note that the word has to be completed for this to work. Otherwise it's an abbreviation, a Curse Cut Short, or a Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion.

This is the extreme form of what is technically known as "enjambment," spreading a phrase or sentence over two lines instead of fitting each thought to its own line.


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     Films — Animated  
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, Ratigan's Villain Song "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" includes this line:
    An even grimmer
    Plan has been simmer-
    -ing in my great criminal brain!
  • In The Prince of Egypt, the song "Deliver Us" includes the following line:
    Help us now,
    in this dark hou-
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, "Out There" includes as least three of these. At the start, it has this back and forth between Frollo and Quasimodo:
    I am your only friend.
    You are my one defend-
    • Later in "Out There," we have this triplet:
    Out there, sitting in the sun,
    Give me one day
    Out there, all I ask is one,
    To hold forever
    Out there, where they all live un-
    • And then still in the same song, there's:
    Out there they'll revile you as a monster
    Out there they will hate and scorn and jeer
    Why invite their calumny and conster-
    nation? Stay in here
    • The song "The Bells of Notre Dame" includes another:
    Dark was the night when our tale was begun
    On the docks near Notre Dame
    Four frightened gypsies slid silently un-
    der the docks near Notre Dame

     Films — Live-Action  
  • "Happy Working Song" from Enchanted has these lines:
    Still, as long as I am here
    I guess a new exper-
    Ience could be worth trying...
    Hey! Keep drying!

  • The song "Marley and Marley" from The Muppet Christmas Carol rhymes "greed" with "needy", "black" with "shackles", and in a cut verse, "part" with "heartless". Since this happens once a verse, it was probably done for artistic purposes.
  • Rachel and the Stranger: One of the songs sung by Jim, a woodsman and amateur folk singer.
    Greying beard and long her tresses
    Knowing not what happiness is

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: From the Mock Turtle's poem, "Turtle Soup":
    Who would not give all else for two p-
    ennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
  • Isaac Asimov's "Rejection Slips": "Kind", the third letter, wants to rhyme 'frightfully' with 'delightful', so it sends part of the first word into the same line as the second word.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Schmigadoon! number "The Worst Brats In Town":
    Miss Codwell: If by chance you're searchin'
    For an urchin
    I got your merchandise right here

  • Daniel F. Wallace's Limerick about rhyming with "orange".
    When mired in a problem's confusion,
    heed not to the boundary illusion.
    So when rhyming with orange,
    one has to be more inge-
    nious to find a solution.

  • Tom Lehrer:
    • Eating an orange
      While making love
      Makes for bizarre enj—
      oyment thereof.
      • (This rhyme works only because Lehrer sings it in a Boston accent, where the first syllable of orange rhymes with the last syllable of bizarre.)
    • The opening to Lehrer's song "We'll All Go Together When We Go":
      When you attend a funeral
      It is sad to think that sooner or l—
      ater those you love will do the same for you...
      And you may have thought it tragic
      Not to mention other adjec—
      tives to think of all the weeping they will do...
    • The opening to Lehrer's song "Smut"
      Give me smut and nothing but!
      A dirty novel I can't shut,
      If it's uncut,
      And unsubt—
    • "Bright College Days" does this bilingually:
      Turn on the spigot,
      Pour the beer and swig it,
      And gaudeamus igit—
  • "The Way You Look Tonight" (originally from the film Swing Time, now a jazz standard):
    Oh, but you're lovely,
    With your smile so warm
    And your cheeks so soft,
    There is nothing for m-
    e but to love you,
    And the way you look tonight.
  • Arlo Guthrie's "Motorcycle Song" (allegedly written while falling off a cliff after trying to play an acoustic guitar while riding a motorcycle):
    I don't want a pickle
    Just want to ride on my motor-sickle
    And I don't want a tickle
    'Cause I'd rather ride on my motor-sickle
    And I don't want to die
    Just want to ride on my motorcy... cle.
    I knew that it wasn't the best song l ever wrote, but I didn't have time to change it. I was comin' down mighty fast.
  • From the Capitol Steps song "The Hardest Rhyme" (to the tune of "The Longest Time"):
    We can't rhyme Yeltsin
    We'll have to pull our belts in
    Do something else in-
    stead of finding rhymes
  • Gloria Estefan's "Get On Your Feet":
    I think it's true
    That we've all been through
    Some nasty weather
    Let's understand
    That we're here to han-
    dle things together
  • Alan Jackson's "Like Red on a Rose" has one:
    And I love you like only little children love pennies
    And I love you 'cause I know that I can't do any-
    thing wrong
  • The Decemberists' "The Legionnaire's Lament":
    Medicating in the sun
    Pinched doses of laudanum
    Longing for the old fecund-
    -ity of my homeland.
  • Bob Dylan's "Hurricane":
    We wanna put his ass in stir
    We wanna pin this triple mur-
    -der on him
  • Comedian and musician Richard Stilgoe's 45-minute poem Who Pays the Piper?, which humorously outlines the history of music from Pan to the present day, contains a song outlining Chopin's life, set to the Minute Waltz, which contains several of these:
    ...and went off to Vienna and Berlin,
    where he met Hummel and Paganin-
    -i the great violin virtuoso.
    • And:
    She used to smoke cigars,
    and would habitually wear trous-
    -ers, collar, tie and crew cut hair.
  • Peter Schickele presented a song based on the name "Mindy", which included the following break:
    suffer from a vitamin de-
  • The Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight"
    Rubbin' sticks and stones together makes the sparks ingite
    and the thought of rubbin' you is getting so excit-
  • "I Will" by Jimmy Wayne:
    What can I do? I can't make you stay here
    But if you should choose to go your own way, where-
    -ever you're going, whenever you turn
    Remember this moment, remember these words
  • "Follow Your Arrow" by Kacey Musgraves combines this with a Last-Second Word Swap:
    If you save yourself for marriage, you're a bore
    If you don't save yourself for marriage, you're a hornote -
    -rible person
  • Katy Perry's "Chained To The Rhythm" splits the word "zombie" in two to get an extra rhyme out of it:
    Turn it up, it's your favorite song
    Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
    turn it up, keep it on repeat
    Stumbling around like a wasted zom-
    Yeah, we think we're free...
  • Plain White T’s “Rhythm Of Love”:
    When the moon is low
    We can dance in slow mo-
  • Runrig's "Scandinavia".
    Here we stand
    In Scand-
  • Reel Big Fish has "Somebody Hates Me"
    Did you mis-
    -understand something that I did, or
    was it one
    of my jokes that you didn't get
  • DJ Shadow, "Rocket Fuel"
    Aced all quizzes, A-plussed the final
    Vocals we align' we move it all simul-
    -taneously over joints, we rock
  • Big Time Rush's "Love Me Love Me"
    Can't stop, wont stop the party rock
    You got that feel of you're lips, sweet, like Betty Crock-
    -er, so call a doct-
    -or, 'Cause someone needs to take your temperature, you're getting hot-
  • Rodgers and Hart's "Manhattan":
    Summer journeys to Niag'ra
    And to other places aggra-
    Vate all our cares
    We'll save our fares!
  • Dan Bull does this in his "Minecraft Nether Zombie Pigman Rap":
    Have you ever been aghast at a ghast as it blasts
    Burning gas at your ass that could shatter a glass
    So attack!
    And when the thing disappears,
    It can ac-
    tually bring you to tears!
  • Eminem:
    • "Who Knew?"
      How many retards’ll listen to me?
      And run up in the school shooting when they’re pissed at a teach-
      er, her, him, is it you, is it them?
      "Wasn’t me — Slim Shady said to do it again!"
      Damn! How much damage can you do with a pen?
    • Not strictly a midword rhyme, but "Lose Yourself" breaks up a common phrase to force the rhyme scheme - made very obvious by the pauses in the flow.
      But I kept rhymin' and stepped right in the next cypher,
      Best believe somebody's payin' the Pied Piper,
      All the pain inside amplified by the,
      fact that I can't get by with my nine-to,
    • "Rap God" has another broken-up phrase to force the rhyme:
      To meet Run–D.M.C., induct them
      Into the motherfuckin' Rock an'...
      Roll Hall of Fame...
    • On "Evil Twin":
      Oh, LMFAO, no way, Jo-
      -se Baez couldn't beat this rap—O.J., no
    • "Doomsday Pt. 2" contains a bizarre midword homophone:
      Plan a funeral
      Imma have to go
      Plan a few neurol—
      —ogical exams...

  • In the final episode of the first series of Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music, he and Richard Stilgoe are having a satirical song contest; when Stilgoe challenges Benn to continue the song "I went to the supermarket and there I bought an orange", Mitch melts. But he later comes back:
    Everybody knows ain't nothing rhymes with orange
    Doesn't matter how much imagination or ing-
    enuity you use, even words that are foreign j-
    ust better let it go, ain't nothing rhymes with orange

  • "In A Little While" from Once Upon a Mattress does this twice:
    In a little while, just a little while,
    You and I will be one, two, three, four.
    In a little while, I will see your smile
    On the face of my son. To be for-
    Ever hand in glove
    Is the way I have it planned[...]
My time is at a premium
For soon the world will see me a m-
aternal bride-to-be
  • Bye Bye Birdie's "Put On a Happy Face":
    Wipe off that gloomy mask of tragedy
    It's not your style
    You'll look so good that you'll be glad ya de-
    -cided to smile
  • From Wicked:
    • "A Sentimental Man":
    And helping you with your ascent al-
    -lows me to feel so parental
    • "Popular":
    Don't be offended by my frank analysis
    Think of it as personality dialysis
    Now that I've chosen to become a pal, a sis-
    -ter and adviser
    There's nobody wiser
    • Also in "Popular":
    There's nothing that can stop you
    From becoming popu-
    • Still "Popular":
    You're gonna grin and bear it!
    Your newfound popularit-
    • In both of the latter two "Popular" cases, the ends of the words also rhyme with a different nearby line.
    • Frequently in "Defying Gravity":
    It's time to try / Kiss me goodbye / Just you and I / I'm flying high
    -ing gravity.
    • "Thank Goodness"
    Then with a jealous squeal
    The Wicked Witch burst from conceal-
    -ment where she had been lurking surreptitially
  • "Ladies In Their Sensitivities" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
    When a girl's emergent
    Probably it's urgent
    You defer to her gent-
    -ility, my Lord
  • Pippin:
    • "Magic to Do":
      Journey, journey to a spot ex-
      citing, mystic and exotic[...]
      Intrigue, plots to bring disaster
      Humor handled by a master
      Romance, sex presented pastor-al-ly
    • "War is a Science":
      And if all the ploys we pick to rea-
      -lly work to bring to pass occur
      We won't have just a victory
      We'll have ourselves a massacre
  • "How I Saved Roosevelt" from Assassins contains a mid-letter rhyme, which when written down looks sort of like:
    We'd have been left
    Of FD
  • "Superstar" from Jesus Christ Superstar:
    Did you mean to die like that? Was that a mistake, or
    Did you know your messy death would be a record break
  • "I Miss The Mountains" from Next to Normal:
    All these blank
    and tranq-
    -uil years
    Seems they've dried up all my tears
  • A Little Night Music:
    • "Liaisons" completes a rhyme and a song by having Mme. Armfeldt fall asleep in the middle of a word:
      In a world where the kings are employers,
      Where the amateur prevails and delicacy fails to pay,
      In a world where the princes are lawyers,
      What can anyone expect, except to recollect liai...
    • Carl-Magnus's verse of "A Weekend In The Country" rhymes "item" with "might am(use you)."
    • "Night Waltz I (The Sun Won't Set)":
      Perpetual sunset
      Is rather an unset-
      -tling thing.
  • "It's Hot Up Here" from Sunday in the Park with George:
    The outer show
    Of bliss up here
    Is disappear-
    -ing dot by dot
  • Follies:
    • "Love Will See Us Through":
      Young Buddy: I've some traits, I warn you,
      To which you'll have objections.
      Young Sally: I, too, have a cornu-
      -copia of imperfections.
    • "Ah, But Underneath":
      As changeable as a chameleon,
      With all that entails,
      But nobody saw what was really un-
      -derneath all the veils.
  • 1776 features several examples, including "Sit Down, John":
    It's ninety degrees,
    have mercy, John, please!
    It's hot as hell,
    in Philadel-
  • Happens often in Hamilton, though it's usually not obvious because, as is common in rap, the structure tends to be pretty flexible and there are a lot of internal rhymes.
    • One example from "Alexander Hamilton":
    There would've been nothin' left to do for someone less astute
    He would've been dead or destitute without a cent of restitut-
    • Another from "My Shot":
    I am the A-L-E-X-A-N-D-
    E-R! We are! Meant to be!
    A colony that runs independently!
    • And then one from "Satisfied":
    I asked about his family, did you see his answ-
    -er? His hands started fidgeting, he looked askance:
    He's penniless, he's flying by the seat of his pants!
    • And from "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)":
    How did we know that this plan would work?
    We had a spy on the inside. That's right: Herc-
    ules Mulligan!
  • The Phantom of the Opera: The Act 2 version of "Notes" provides these lines:
    The man could not be deafer,
    So please prefer-
    -ably one who plays in tune!
  • "Where Are The Men?" from Anything Goes:
    Where are the men?
    Is this a nunnery?
    Where are the men?
    We want some fun. A re-
    -fusal to find some will leave us completely floored...
  • The Count Of Monte Cristo: "The Story"
    Villefort: Let me sign and then initial
    Danglars: It's the truth if it's official-
    -ly the story.
  • Oliver!: In the opening number "Food, Glorious Food":
    There's not a crust, not a crumb can we find, can we beg, can we borrow, or cadge
    But there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
    When we all close our eyes and i-mag-ine...

     Web Original  
  • Epic Rap Battles of History has this during the fight between the Wright Brothers and the Mario Brothers.
    Mario: Spit flames out our mouth
    Both: Like our name was Bow... SER!
  • Goldentusk's With Lyrics version of the Halloween theme does this once; perhaps unnecessarily, since the running rhyme of the song is a long E sound.
    His sense of life and death and good and e-
    vil seemed extremely rudimentary
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog in "Brand New Day":
    This appeared
    as a mor-
    -al dilemma
    'cause at first
    it was weird
    though I swore
    to elimi-
    -nate the worst
    of the plague
    that devou-
    -ered humanity
    it's true
    I was vague
    on the how
    so how can it be
    that you...
  • VlogBrothers member Hank Green's song "Strange Charm":
    Quarks have electric charge, color charge, mass, and spin
    And having color charge means they exist solely in-
    side of other kinds of particles and cannot exist alone...

     Western Animation  
  • South Park quotes a playground rhyme that combines this with some Inverted Curse Cut Short. Snippet:
    Miss Lucy had a steam boat
    The steamboat had a bell,
    Miss Lucy went to heaven and the
    Steamboat went to...Hell-
    o operator
    • South Park's version, however, is much naughtier than the original playground song. Specifically, mention is made of "cont-aminated water."
  • Animaniacs, listing off all the Presidents the US had had at the time:
    Ted Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill
    Then President Taft he got the bill
    In 1913 Woodrow Wil-
    son takes us into World War One.
  • Milo Murphy's Law has a couple in the rap section of the Season 2 song "Pressure":
    We could be so influential,
    our actions consequential!
    Without any recredentials,
    I can tell you confidential-
    -ly that you and me might have the quality
    to achieve a high degree of notoriety!
    And get our names on the marquee of high society
    And I know that now we seem like idi-
    -ots, but in the nitty-gritty,
    it's so fortunate we're witty
    it's gonna (Yo, yo!) make us giddy
    when we're someday sitting pretty!
  • Family Guy: "Christmastime is Killing Us" from the episode "Road to the North Pole" features one in every verse but the last, rhyming "peal" and "zeal" with "feeling", "list" and "pissed" with "existence", "elf" and "shelf" with "selflessly", and "train" and "pain" with "draining".


Video Example(s):


Wendy's Audition Song

Wendy wants to audition for the new "boy band" despite being a girl and her entire song is about her almost about to swear but swapped with a different word until the ending.

How well does it match the trope?

4.65 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion

Media sources: