It’s a common misconception that there are certain simple English words that don’t have a rhyme. Orange is the most commonly cited one, although purple is a close second.
In fact, the list I hear the most is orange, purple, silver, and month. That list was even a clue in a recent Ellery Queen pastiche, which I heard on their podcast.
However, being the obsessed word nerd that I am, I like to know uncommon and esoteric words. Which means I know the words that rhyme with orange and a few others.
I even like to throw this out as a little fun fact, especially at conferences.
I spoke at the National Association of Government Communicators Communication School today and yesterday (June 19 & 20), and I promised to reveal those rhymes to the attendees. Which I forgot to do.
So if you’re interested, here are the actual rhymes to those four words:
- Orange: The sporange is a very rare alternative form of sporangium, which is the botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant. It’s the case or sac where the spores — the equivalent of seeds in a flowering plant — are stored. It’s more frequently called the sporangium, but it exists, so count it! I had a debate over this one in the latest editions of Branding Yourself with @HaggardHawks, the British obscure word finder.
- Purple: Two words: to hirple is the Scottish word for hobble or walk with a limp, and curple, which is the curved part of the hindquarters of a horse or donkey. Nurple is a slang word, as in “purple nurple” and it does not count.
- Silver: A chilver is a female lamb.
- Month: This one is a toughie. The word is the mathematical term, oneth, as in N+1th, such as “hundred-and-oneth” or even in fractions, as in 16/31, or “sixteen-thirty-oneth.”
There are other words that have esoteric rhymes, and I’ll start sharing those as I find some interesting ones. Or get invited back to speak at the NAGC!