Does Anything Rhyme With Orange?
You’ve heard it before. Whatever the context, someone has probably gone and told you that nothing rhymes with “orange.” Of course, everyone is going to spit “orange schmorange” back at you and then the discussion just kind of ends. But let us step back for a minute. There are a lot of words in the English language. So what’s up? Does anything rhyme with orange?
Bonus Trivia Fact: “Dord” was a word for about 13 years before we figured out it was a mistake. It was submitted as “D or d,” intended to refer to the two symbols used to represent density at the time. But someone screwed up, and we got the word “dord” in Merriam Webster’s from like 1934 to 1947.
It’s actually really easy to just kinda force “orange” into rhyming with other stuff. Either by making up words, or pulling something out like “lore binge.” But that’s no fun, and it’s cheating (sorry Eminem). As such, when we’re talking about nothing rhyming with “orange,” we’re really saying there are no perfect rhymes for the word. Luckily for us, since we came up with the idea of “language,” perfect rhymes actually exist. So you’re not allowed to throw the “nothing is perfect” argument back at us. Alright then, so let’s get into the ground rules.
A perfect rhyme must stress the same vowel (sound)–and every sound after that stressed vowel has to be the same. Say the words “fickle” and “pickle” out loud. While neither of us want to deal with a fickle pickle that tickles us, the words have their stress on the i. The following “ckle” sounds the same.
The stressed syllable is important, it’s why words that might end in the “-ickle” sound don’t actually rhyme with “pickle.” Take the word “technical.” Phonetically ends with the same “-ickle,” but the stress in the word “technical” doesn’t lie right before the i. Thus, they don’t rhyme, unless you pronounce the word “tech-nickel.” Which is weird. Don’t do that.
There’s a little more to it, what comes before the stressed sound has to be different. It’s why “leave” and “believe” aren’t actually rhymes.
Not Having a Perfect Rhyme Isn’t Special
Lots of words don’t have perfect rhymes anyway. You can think of some off the top of your head; “wolf,” “depth” just to name a couple. There’s also the fun “nothing” actually rhymes with nothing. How cute.
It’s not very easy to find a comprehensive list of every single word that doesn’t have a perfect rhyme. If you look it up you’ll find some that differ or some such–probably because what is a word is always changing, or whatever.
But those lists aren’t small, and someone ran English through a program that suggests un-rhymable words are actually quite common. Though in fairness, they also concluded that it all depends on how you define a rhyme. Thanks, Obi-Wan. We guess anything really can be true, from a certain point of view.
So What Rhymes with Orange?
Well given the ground rules we set out for the perfect rhyme, we could actually find two. One of which is a proper noun though, so we would understand if you wanted to disqualify it on that principle.
Either way, we’ve arrived at The Blorenge. It’s a real place you could go to! It also sounds like something someone would make up to dismiss the “nothing rhymes with orange” discussion, but that’s neither here nor there. Find it in Wales.
There’s the word “sporange,” a very rare way to refer to the sporangium. The term is a botanical thing, so unless you live in plants, this is completely irrelevant.
You might also like: What Came First: The Color Orange or the Fruit Orange?
Also for those of you who are now defaulting to the word “silver” having no rhymes, it does. The word “chilver” exists.
We didn’t make the rules, we just found them and tried to fit them with oranges. So uh, ball’s in your court, poets.