orangeLast year I wrote a humorous post, it was a list of words that rhyme with orange. All the words were completely made-up and I gave all of them funny meanings. To my continued surprise it has become the most consistently popular post on my blog (which is really funny for a software development blog, the internet works in mysterious ways :)). As you might know, orange is one of those words in the English language for which it is really difficult to find a rhyme (there are many others like silver, almond etc.). And yet, the majority of the comments on that blog posts are suggestions for some words that people believe rhyme with orange (all incorrect). Some of the other comments express disappointment that they couldn’t find any real words that rhyme with orange in my post. All this tells me 2 things:

  1. Most people don’t really know what a rhyme is
  2. Many people are really interested in words that rhyme with orange (I don’t know why, but I have learned to accept it :))

I don’t like it when people leave disappointed after reading my blog and this is why I decided to address both of the above points. For those people who believe that door hinge or syringe rhyme with orange, I will give a quick overview of the different types of rhyme. And for the curious few who want to find a real rhyme for orange I will attempt to satisfy your curiosity also.

Perfect Rhymes

When we try to find words that rhyme with each other, we are usually trying to find what’s known as a perfect rhyme (also called a true rhyme). Two words are a perfect rhyme of each other if their final stressed vowel and all sounds following it are identical e.g.:

  • sad, bad, mad
  • follow, swallow
  • ruling, fooling
  • etc.

There are 3 types of perfect rhymes:

  1. masculine – the stress is on the final syllable of the word (e.g. spent and went)
  2. feminine – the stress is on the second last syllable of the word (e.g. passion and fashion)
  3. dactylic – the stress is on the third last syllable (e.g. undemocratically and aristocratically)

That is all there is to it. If you want to find perfect rhymes for words, that’s all you need to know.

Imperfect Rhymes

When we use the word rhyme in a general sense (at least as far as words are concerned) we are usually talking about words that sound phonetically similar in some way, but which are not true rhymes. Phonetically similar words can be classified in a number of ways:

  • half rhyme – two words have a matching final consonant
  • imperfect rhyme – a rhyme between a stressed syllable and an unstressed one
  • oblique rhyme – a rhyme where the match in sound is imperfect
  • consonance – words have matching consonants
  • assonance – words have some matching vowels
  • alliteration – words have a matching initial consonant
  • etc.

The point is there are many different types of imperfect rhyme, and because of this with some types of imperfect rhyme (such as oblique rhymes) almost any word can be considered an imperfect rhyme of almost any other. In short, it becomes extremely subjective.

Imperfect rhymes can be used in verse (and have been since ancient times), but that does not make them true rhymes, which is what most people would refer to when they talk about rhyme (i.e. in general conversation we tend to use the word rhyme in a strict sense – a perfect rhyme). This is why we can’t really say that door hinge or syringe rhyme with orange. They are certainly imperfect rhymes (since pretty much anything can be), but they are not true rhymes unless we decide to use the word rhyme in it’s general sense (which noone does in day-to-day conversation).

I’ve given only a very basic explanation about rhymes and rhyming and only as far as specific words are concerned. If you want to dig deeper into the ‘science’ of poetry, there is a lot more to know about rhyme. How to organize verse, tetrameters, hexameters etc. Feel free to explore if you’re interested (Google is your friend).

What Really Rhymes With Orange

And so we’re back to oranges :). So, are there any real words that perfectly rhyme with orange? Well, it is a little complicated. Technically speaking orange is considered to be a word that doesn’t have any perfect rhymes, however we can always resort to a trick. We can always make up words as long as we make them proper names. You could therefore make up a name that would be a perfect rhyme for orange. Infact such names already exist:

Gorringe – is a family name and if you choose to pronounce it in a particular way it can rhyme with orange.

Blorange – is a mountain in south east Wales. Once again, if you choose to pronounce it in a particular way it will also rhyme with orange. It is however not strictly correct as despite the way it’s spelt, it is not pronounced the same (the correct pronunciation is – Blorins).

The only non-proper-name word that can rhyme with orange is:

Sporange – a plant that produces spores. This one is also arguable since, technically speaking, it should be sporangium rather than sporange since sporangia is the plural form of the word.

That’s it. There are no other words in the English language that can be considered a perfect rhyme of orange, so if you don’t like the above three and don’t want to make up a proper name of your own, you’re out of luck. Personally I don’t like any of the above three words and while I normally have no problems making up words/names when I need to, anything you’re likely to come up with to rhyme with orange will undoubtedly just sounds stupid (try it if you don’t believe me :)).

Image by mattieb