The following is a list of English words without rhymes
, or refractory rhymes
a list of words
in the English language
with no other English words in the strict sense that they are pronounced in the same way from the vowel
sound of the main stressed syllable
onwards. They don't count as rhymes if they are identical in those syllables—for instance, bay
don't count as rhymes. The list was compiled from the point of view of Received Pronunciation
and may not always work in other dialects. Multiple-word rhymes have not generally been considered.
Definition of perfect rhyme
Following the strict definition of rhyme
, a perfect rhyme demands the exact match of all sounds from the last stressed vowel to the end of the word. Therefore, words with the stress far from the end are more likely to have no perfect rhymes. For instance, a perfect rhyme for discomBOBulate
would have to rhyme three syllables, -OBulate.
There are many words that match most of the sounds from the stressed vowel onwards and so are near rhymes, called slant rhymes
. Ovulate, copulate,
for example, vary only slightly in one consonant, and thus provide very usable rhymes for most situations in which a rhyme for discombobulate
is desired. However, no English word has exactly these three final syllables with this stress pattern.
Because rhymes reflect pronunciation, words that rhyme in some English dialects may not rhyme in others. A commonplace example of this is the word "of", which had no rhymes in British Received Pronunciation prior to the 19th century, but rhymed with "love" in General American. In the other direction, iron has no rhyme in General American, but many in RP.
Words with obscure perfect rhymes
- bulb , assumed to rhyme with culb, an obsolete word attested from 1683 for a glass distillation vessel
- chaos , rhymes with naos
- circle , rhymes with opercle, a covering, and hurkle, to pull in all one's limbs
- else , rhymes with wels, the fish Silurus glanis
- month , rhymes with hunth, an abbreviation for hundred thousandth, and with en-plus-oneth (n + 1)th, a mathematical term
- music , rhymes with anchusic, as in anchusic acid
- opus (with a short o), , rhymes with Hoppus, a method of measuring timber
- orange , rhymes with Blorenge, a hill in Wales, and Gorringe, a family name, and for some people sporange
- pint , rhymes with rynt, a word milkmaids use to get a cow to move
- plankton , rhymes with Yankton (Sioux)
- plinth , rhymes with synth, colloquial for synthesizer.
- purple , rhymes with curple (the hindquarters of a horse) and hirple (to walk with a limp)
- rhythm , rhymes with smitham, fine malt or ore dust
- silver , rhymes with chilver, a female lamb, and the given name Wilver.
- siren , rhymes with gyron, a type of triangle in heraldry.
- toilet , rhymes with oillet, an eyelet
- width , rhymes with obsolete sidth, with the same meaning
- yttrium , rhymes with liberum arbitrium, a legal term
Non-rhyming English words
Refractory one-syllable rhymes are uncommon; there may be less than a hundred in English. A great many end in a present or historical suffix -th.
Not all are one-syllable words, such as oblige.
- angst, -s
- breadth, -s
- breathed (participle)
- cusp, -s, -ed
- depth, -s
- eighth, -s, -ed
- fifth, -s, -ed
- film, -ed
- fugue, -s, -ed
- gulf, -s, -ed
- heighth, -s
- kiln, -s, -ed
- ninth, -s, -ed
- oblige, -ed
- pork, -s, -ed
- sowth, south ?
- sixth, -s, -ed
- twelfth, -s, -ed
- wolf, -s, -ed
- wolve, -s, -d
Nonce-words ending in -ed ('provided with') may produce other rhymeless words, such as be-fezzed (wearing a fez) and aitched (full of H's). However, these are not always certain (rached, a horse with a white streak down its face?).
Once the stress shifts to the penultimate syllable, rhymeless words are rather common.
A complete list of such words would be unmanageably long.
Perhaps the majority of words with preantepenultimate
stress, such as necessary, logarithm,
have no rhyme.