18 April 2011

Sporange rhymes with orange

One of the FAQs from the Oxford English Dictionary:
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'.
Not mentioned at the OED is a more artificial rhyme for "orange" in this verse:
The four eng-
wore orange
...and another from this verse:
In Sparkill buried lies that man of mark
Who brought the Obelisk to Central Park,
Redoubtable Commander H.H. Gorringe,
Whose name supplies the rhyme for “orange."


  1. I always thought 'door hinge' made a decent rhyme for orange, as long as it's said quickly and the h is dropped a little. At least in my little world, 'orange' is pronounced more like ore-inge than ore-enge.

  2. You just reminded me of "gorringe" - I'll add it to the post.

  3. I also immediately thought of "door hinge" as a potential rhyme for "orange"...because I learned it from the singing pirates in Secret of Monkey Island.

  4. Eating an orange
    While making love
    Makes for bizarre enj-
    Oyment thereof.

    -Tom Lehrer

  5. I went to school with a boy who we teased because his last name rhymed with purple. It was Quirple.

  6. I think I may have mentioned this here before, because I am everlastingly full of horrible sinful nepotistic pride, but the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary is edited by my lovely husband and his almost-as-lovely dad. Good, innit?


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