Thursday, July 05, 2012

No Rhyme (or Reason)

I found an interesting list somewhere last month. It was the five words that have no rhyming words in English:

  • depth
  • month
  • orange
  • silver
  • purple
Whoa, I thought, I never realized that such common words can't be rhymed. I was sure that purple would rhyme with maple surple.

Or perhaps depth and month were rhymes.

But I discovered, much to my literary and poetic dismay that rhyme, true rhyme must be more than deep.

Then I went Googling around the Internet and in the depths of Wikipedia I found
a list of English words without rhymes, called refractory rhymes—that is, a list of words in the English language which rhyme with no other English word. The word "rhyme" here is used in the strict sense, called a perfect rhyme, that the words are pronounced the same from the vowel of the main stressed syllable onwards.
Lo and behold there were more
  • angel
  • angry
  • foible
  • obliged
  • polka
  • sandwich
  • wolf
  • zigzag
Then to my majestic surprise I find an obscure rhyme for purple:
rhymes with curple (the hindquarters of a horse or donkey) and hirple (to walk with a limp)
and for silver:
rhymes with chilver, a female lamb.
Finally I got into Dr. Seuss land when I discovered a rhyme for month:
rhymes with en-plus-oneth (n + 1)th, a mathematical term; also hundred-and-oneth (= hundred-and-first)
I am glad English is a living language. I can hardly wait for someone to come up with a new, but very real word that will rhyme with sandwich or, even better, foible. Think how much easier it would be to write poetry or a good rhyming song.

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