Thursday, February 16, 2017

Does Anything Rhyme With “Orange”?

The statement that the word orange doesn’t rhyme with any other word is incorrect. It is correct that colloquial English does not contain a rhyming word for orange.

If we look a bit beyond that here are two examples. Orange rhymes with Blorenge  (a mountain in Wales) and sporange (a technical word for a sac where spores are made). Of course, if you want to write a rhyming poem or lyrics about oranges, the scientific or geographic research involved might be more than just a little tough.

Perhaps this why the word orange doesn't feature in any love songs or poems. While flowers are used in many songs fruits are seldom used. 

Here is an excerpt from a 60 Minutes Interview, October 11, 2010, where Eminem made a claim about the word "orange." “People say that the word orange doesn't rhyme with anything ... I can think of a lot of things that rhyme with orange," said Eminem, seated behind a mixing board at his private recording studio, before effortlessly conjuring an on the spot rap about putting an “orange, four-inch, door hinge in storage" and having "porridge with Geo-rge.”  You can judge for yourself if you think that is really a rhyme with the orange in question.

Another word with few rhyming possibilities is silver.

The Oxford English Dictionary even weighs in on the subject.

Orange has almost no perfect rhymes. The only word in the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary that rhymes with orange is sporange, a very rare alternative form of sporangium (a botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant). Silver is another word for which it is almost impossible to find a perfect rhyme: the only candidate is the rare word chilver, which the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary defines as 'a ewe-lamb' (i.e. a female lamb). Both orange and silver do have half-rhymes, though: the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary gives lozenge as a half-rhyme for orange, for example, and salver as a half-rhyme for silver.

What's the difference between a full rhyme and a half-rhyme? A full and stressed rhyme (e.g. hand / stand) or even an unstressed rhyme (such as handing / standing) contain vowels that are common to both words, while a half-rhyme like orange / lozenge or silver / salver has obvious differences between the vowels in certain syllables. The technical term for a half-rhyme is 'pararhyme'.

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