List of English words without rhymes
The following is 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. The list was compiled from the point of view of Received Pronunciation (with a few exceptions for General American), and may not work for other accents or dialects. Multiple-word rhymes (a phrase that rhymes with a word, known as a phrasal or mosaic rhyme), self-rhymes (adding a prefix to a word and counting it as a rhyme of itself), and identical rhymes (words that are identical in their stressed syllables, such as bay and obey) are often not counted as true rhymes and have not been considered. Only the list of one-syllable words can hope to be anything near complete; for polysyllabic words, rhymes are the exception rather than the rule.
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, and populate, 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 other English word has exactly these three final syllables with this stress pattern. And since in most traditions the stressed syllable should not be identical—the consonant before the stressed vowel should be different—adding a prefix to a word, as be-elbow for elbow, does not create a perfect rhyme for it.
Words that rhyme in one accent or dialect may not rhyme in another. A commonplace example of this is the word of, which when stressed had no rhymes in British Received Pronunciation prior to the 19th century, but which rhymed with love in General American. (When unstressed, it's a homonym for have.) In the other direction, iron has no rhyme in General American, but many in RP. Words may also have more than one pronunciation, one with a rhyme, and one without!
Words with obscure perfect rhymes
This list includes rhymes of words that have been listed as rhymeless.
- 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. Phalanxed is not a perfect rhyme because the stress is on the wrong syllable. The alternative American pronunciation // has no rhymes
- arugula //, rhymes with Bugula, a genus of bryozoan
- beige //, rhymes with greige, an adjective referring to unfinished textiles which have not yet been dyed or bleached.
- blitzed rhymes with spritzed, from spritz, to squirt with water or mist.
- cairn, rhymes with bairn, a Northern English and Scottish word meaning child
- chaos //, rhymes with naos, the inner chamber of a temple
- circle //, rhymes with hurkle, to pull in all one's limbs
- circus //, rhymes with murcous, having cut off one's thumb
- coif //, rhymes with boyf, slang for "boy-friend"
- cusp //, rhymes with DUSP, an acronym for "dual-specificity phosphatase enzyme"
- else //, rhymes with wels, the fish Silurus glanis
- fiends // rhymes with teinds, Scottish word for the portion of an estate assessed for the stipend of the clergy, and archaic Scottish piends
- film, -s //, // rhymes with pilm, Scottish word for dust. The plural films rhymes with Wilms, a kidney tumor
- fugue, -s //, // rhymes with jougs, which is rarely found in the singular
- gulf, -s //, // rhymes with SULF (pl. Sulfs), any of a number of sulfate-regulating enzymes
- kiln, if pronounced //, rhymes with the surname Milne
- eth //, rhymes with Castilian Spanish merced 'gift', which is occasionally used in English
- midst //, rhymes with didst, archaic for did (used with thou)
- 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
- music //, rhymes with anchusic, as in anchusic acid, dysgeusic, 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, colloquial for synthesizer
- purple //, rhymes with curple, the hindquarters of a horse or donkey, hirple, to walk with a limp,nurple, the act of roughly twisting a nipple (slang)
- 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 (some pronunciations), a Persian coin and military division
- yttrium //, rhymes with liberum arbitrium, a legal term
Non-rhyming English words
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The majority of words with antepenultimate stress, such as animal, citizen, comedy, dangerous, and obvious, and with preantepenultimate stress, such as necessary, logarithm, algorithm and sacrificing, have no rhyme.
Refractory one-syllable rhymes are uncommon; there may be fewer than a hundred in English. A great many end in a present or historical suffix -th, or are plural or participle forms. This list includes a few polysyllabic masculine rhymes such as oblige, which have one syllable in their rhyming part.
- angsts //
- breadth, -s //, //
- bulb, -s, -ed //, //
- depth, -s //, //
- fifth, -s, -ed //, //
- filmed //
- glimpsed //
- (en)gulfed //
- kirsch //
- midsts //
- mulcts //
- ninth, -s //, //
- oblige, -ed //
- sculpts //
- sowthed, southed //
- sixth, -s //, //
- twelfth, -s //, // The "f" in "twelfth" is commonly elided in casual speech, causing "twelfth" to rhyme with "health" and "wealth".
- vuln, -s, -ed //, //
- whilst //
- wolf, -s, -ed //, //
- wolve, -s, -d //, //
pork // has no rhymes in conservative RP and GA. However, the distinction between horse and hoarse has been mostly lost in younger generations, and for them and many others pork which was an exception to the normal rule, now rhymes with fork, cork, etc. (//) The OED no longer lists "/pɔək/" as an alternative pronunciation in its third edition.
Nonce words ending in -ed ('provided with') may produce other potentially refractory masculine rhymes. There are additional words which are only partially assimilated into English, such as Russian kovsh /ˈkɒvʃ/, which are refractory rhymes.
Although not meant as a complete list, there are some additional refractory rhymes in GA. Some of these are due to RP being a non-rhotic accent, and having merged rhymes formerly distinguished by /r/.
For feminine rhymes, the final two syllables must match to count as a rhyme. Once the stress shifts to the penultimate syllable, rhymeless words are quite common, perhaps even the norm: there may be more rhymeless words than words with rhymes. The following words are representative, but there are thousands of others.
- polka 
- something 
- OED search for pronunciations ending in "*QbjUleIt".
- In RP, stressed of currently has the rhymes sov, short for sovereign, and Sov, short for Soviet.
- Lopped off in a way reminiscent of a Manx cat's taillessness: in Horse Nonsense by R. J. Yeatman.
- Exceptions for perfect rhymes with angst and angsts being some dialectical or theatrical (such as in performances of Shakespeare's plays) pronunciations of verbs conjugated in the somewhat obsolete second person plural form associated with the pronoun thou, which end with -est or -st. For example, thankest and wrongest, as in "thou thankest me too much" or "wrongst thou not me!", depending on how the words thankest //) and wrongst // are pronounced, with the latter dependent on being subject to vowel-forward version of the cot–caught merger).
- After /dʒ/ there is no distinction between /uː/ and /juː/. No other word ends in /ˈ-juːɡ/, but droog and for some people Moog end in /ˈ-uːɡ/; whether this is considered a rhyme depends on whether /ˈ-juː/ is considered a diphthong.
- Also attested in poetry is onety-oneth //
- With the American pronunciation // with a long o, opus rhymes with other words, such as Canopus, lagopous, monopus (one-eyed), and slang mopus.
- Webster's Third gives two pronunciations for sporange, one of which rhymes. However, one is a spelling pronunciation based on orange, and the OED only has the non-rhyming pronunciation, with the stress on the ange : //. The American pronunciation with one syllable has no rhyme, even in non-rhotic accents.
- Held, Carl. "Breaking the Orange Rhyme Barrier". Games. Issue 167 (Vol. 25, No. 1). pp. 10–13. February 2001.
- The plural has a common rhyme in Heintz.
- Held, Carl. "Orange, Silver, now Purple (More Lexical Lunacy)". Games. Issue 207 (Vol. 29, No. 1). pp. 4–9, 16. February 2005.
- Rhythmic has no rhymes apart from logarithmic and algorithmic, which are often excluded for having identical syllables.
- Held, Carl. "From Orange to Silver (More Lexical Lunacy)". Games. Issue 200 (Vol. 28, No. 4). pp. 4–9, 16. May 2004.
- For some people, also environ, but this is not RP, in which environ // has no rhyme.
- The plural women also has but a single rhyme, a more common one: persimmon, but only in some American pronunciations.
- In the August 1980 Kickshaws, Howard Bergerson listed 55, but rhymes have been found for some of them.
Apart from those listed under 'obscure rhymes' above, these are,
beards – weirds; filched – obs. milched, dial. pilched, slang zilched; fluxed – betuxed (dressed in a tux), dial. muxed; jinxed – sphinxed, obs. nonce minxed; lairds – cairds (both Scottish); leashed – schottisched, niched (one pronunciation), Sc. creeshed; mouthed – southed (alt. pronunciation in Dict.com, but not OED); mulched – gulched; puss (cat, face) – wuss, schuss; scalds – tech. faulds, obs. balds, Sc. caulds & spauld; tenth/s – nth/s; tufts – Crufts, yufts (Russian leather).
- Though Cole reported a phrasal rhyme in "Elijah knew, oblige a Jew".
- The alternative American pronunciation // has no rhymes even in the singular.
- Bulb can be assumed to rhyme with culb, an obsolete word (and hapax legomenon) for a glass distillation vessel attested without pronunciation from 1683.
- The plural films rhymes with Wilms, a kidney tumor.
- The infinitive mulct rhymes with sulked, bulked, etc.
- As /ˈsaʊθt/. The verbs sowthed (as in sowthed a tune) and southed (pointed south) are identical and therefore not considered rhymes to each other. Phrases like foul-mouthed /ˈfaʊlmaʊθt/, though close, have the wrong stress to be perfect rhymes. Sowths, souths rhyme with mouth's. (Southed but not sowthed is also pronounced /ˈsaʊðd/, which rhymes with mouthed.)
- Some promising words are befezzed (wearing a fez) and bemusicked, though the first rhymes with Yezd.
- Colloquial GA heighth is /ˈhaɪtθ/. In RP, highth /ˈhaɪθ/ rhymes with dryth (= drought), rithe, etc., but is obsolete.
- Two syllables, //, for many speakers. In RP, this rhymes with lion, cyan, Zion, etc.
- In RP, this rhymes with fasts.
- In RP, it rhymes with stairs, which is not a homonym for stares as it is in GA.
- Liberman, Mark (8 December 2009). "Rhymes". Language Log. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
- British pronunciation // or // only. The US pronunciation // has many rhymes including coyer and lawyer.
- For some (GA) speakers, polka rhymes with mocha
- Though of course something rhymes with phrases such as this dumb thing.