Rhymeless

There’s no word in English that rhymes with “orange.” Everyone knows this. But what rhymes with “problem,” “depth,” “wolf,” “elbow,” or “with”?

Orange
Petr Kratochvil [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Short answer: these words also have no rhymes. To be specific, I’m talking about true rhymes here – every sound after the last stressed vowel has to match.

It turns out that there are many many words in English that fulfil this criterion, unless you cheat by adding a prefix (“in-depth”), using a homophone (“wulf”), or ignoring the fact that we pronounce th two different ways (no, “with” does not rhyme with “myth”).

There are quite a few words that only have a very obscure rhyme (“film” and “pilm”; or “music” and “ageusic”), and others that have only a single rhyme (“dwarfed” and “morphed”; “smooth” and “soothe”). Several words may rhyme depending on your accent or pronunciation, of course, or your tolerance for obscure place names (“Blorenge,” anyone?).

 

2 Replies to “Rhymeless”

  1. You must have meant that “width” does not rhyme with “myth”, because “with” does.

    1. Haha, I knew that one would get some pushback. “With” only rhymes with “myth” in some accents – UK, Australian, and NZ English all pronounce it with a voiced /th/ sound.

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