Perfect rhymes

OrangeThis list of perfect rhymes might come in handy next time you need to complete a limerick…

Perfect rhymes, which are also called exact, full, or true rhymes, occur when two words sound absolutely identical from the point in which each word’s stressed vowel occurs to the end of the word. Also, just to muddy the waters, in order to be ‘perfect’, the prefix to the rhyming part must be different.

This means that words like still and quill are perfect rhymes because they are both one-syllable words, the first stressed vowel is i, and the sounds that follow are identical. Contort and reportare also perfect rhymes, but leave and believe are not because the sound immediately preceding the long e sound is identical and also because they have different numbers of syllables. From the wondrous wikipedia, I present to you a list of known perfect rhymes for some words that you may have thought were unrhymable –

  • Aitch – rhymes with dialectal nache (the bony point on the rump of an ox or cow) and one pronunciation of obsolete rache (a streak down a horse’s face)
  • Angst – rhymes with manxed
  • Arugula  – rhymes with Bugula, a genus of bryozoan
  • Chaos  – rhymes with naos, the inner chamber of a temple
  • Circle – rhymes with hurkle, to pull in all one’s limbs
  • Else – rhymes with wels, the catfish
  • Fiends – rhymes with teinds, Scottish word for the portion of an estate assessed for the stipend of the clergy, and archaic Scottish piends
  • Film – rhymes with pilm, Scottish word for dust. The plural films rhymes with Wilms, a kidney tumor.
  • Fugue – rhymes with jougs, which is rarely found in the singular
  • Gulf – rhymes with sulf (pl. Sulfs), any of a number of sulfate-regulating enzymes
  • Kiln – rhymes with the surname Milne
  • Midst – rhymes with didst, archaic for did
  • Month – rhymes with en-plus-oneth (n + 1)th, a mathematical term; also hundred-and-oneth (= hundred-and-first). This also appears in fractions, and so takes the plural, as in twenty thirty-oneths. (Does not rhyme in some accents, e.g. parts of Britain, where gun and one do not rhyme.)
  • Music – rhymes with anchusic, as in anchusic aciddysgeusic, having a disorder that causes alterations in one’s sense of taste and ageusic, lacking a sense of taste
  • Opus (with a short 0) – rhymes with Hoppus, a method of measuring timber
  • Orange – rhymes with Blorenge, a hill in Wales
  • Pint – rhymes with rynt, a word milkmaids use to get a cow to move
  • Plankton – rhymes with Yankton (Sioux)
  • Plinth – rhymes with synth
  • Purple – rhymes with curple (the hindquarters of a horse or donkey) and hirple (to walk with a limp)
  • Rhythm – rhymes with smitham, fine malt or ore dust
  • Silver – rhymes with chilver, a female lamb
  • Siren – rhymes with gyron, a type of triangle in heraldry, and a few technical terms
  • Toilet  – rhymes with oillet, an eyelet
  • Width – rhymes with obsolete sidth, meaning length
  • Woman – rhymes with toman, a Persian coin and military division
  • Yttrium – rhymes with liberum arbitrium, a legal term

9 thoughts on “Perfect rhymes

  1. Scrabbling Dabbling this frosty morn. Knew a man called Milne, he once gave me a photograph of himself, holding Norma’s hand whilst John Major stood on the other side, holding her other hand, this in front of his large house. Such execrableness, even a tad ageusic, I thought, possibly the old eternal gyron too, I mused.

    Mmm I thought, later that week, that’s not such a wild idea, as John was triangulating with Edwina at the time, a double triangle was a distinct possibility. Two conjoined triangles, as we know make a sexagram, apposite, geometric even, don’t you think.

  2. When Gordon caught sight of a mare’s curple,
    Passions inflamed, he turned quite purple.
    Mounted and up in her midst,
    Fell off her he didst.
    And now rather than walk he does hirple.

    Sorry.

  3. Dabbler Worm’s diverse posts are a treasure
    Of eclectic and whimsical leisure,
    Rabbits born of a Mary,
    Where to get drunk in Derry,
    How to craft rhymes on angst for one’s pleasure!

  4. Very pleased to see a rhyme for orange, which everyone says is unrhymable. There’s also Gorringe, the name of the proprietor of the department store in Buckingham Palace Road.

    • I also remember a character called Harold Gorringe in Peter Schaffer’s ‘Black Comedy’

  5. I once read a perfectly serious poem in which ‘orange’ was rhymed with ‘gear-change’ — although sadly that is the only thing I can remember about the piece.
    There’s also this, by the great philologist W.W. Stead:

    I gave my darling child a lemon,
    That lately grew its fragrant stem on;
    And next, to give her pleasure more range,
    I offered her a juicy orange.
    And nuts, she cracked them in the door-hinge.