If I had a rhyming dictionary I could make this title rhyme
January 17, 2008 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Which rhyming dictionary would you recommend? And why?

What's there to consider when buying one? Entries with additional information (beyond the rhyme) would be lovely - what are my options?
posted by Slam I Am to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Jimmy Webb discusses a few options in Tunesmith. You ought to be able to peruse the section at Google Books--it's a few pages long, and goes into detail on which ones he likes and why.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:52 AM on January 17, 2008

If you don't mind using a website instead of a book, RhymeZone is pretty useful. You can search for rhymes, homophones, similar-sounding words, and sort by syllable or alphabetically. It also shows phrases in addition to words.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:13 PM on January 17, 2008

Ditto RhymeZone. I find it infinitely useful, and you can get definitions as well - for those moments when you go, "That's the perfect rhyme! ...Except, what does it mean?"
posted by bassjump at 12:23 PM on January 17, 2008

By FAR, Clement Wood's The Complete rhyming dictionary, first published in 1936. Allegedly it's what Sondheim uses (or used before he just memorized all the rhymes, lol.) It's much better than any rhyming dictionary or rhymezone.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:32 PM on January 17, 2008

(Wood's dictionary is Webb's favorite too, by the way. I still think that section is worth reading, though.)
posted by uncleozzy at 12:35 PM on January 17, 2008

RhymeZone is good, but I think Rhymer is better.
posted by SampleSize at 12:53 PM on January 17, 2008

Response by poster: Clarification: It's for written and spoken compositions, not music. If that makes a difference.

Any thoughts on or experience with The Poet's Manual and Rhyming Dictionary?
posted by Slam I Am at 1:19 PM on January 17, 2008

I hope you are considering rhymes other than perfect rhymes, also known as full or true rhymes of the "look-book" variety. These rhymes and their close affiliates are the sort that people usually look for in rhyming dictionaries.

Other kinds of rhymes--slant or oblique rhymes, assonant rhymes, consonant rhymes, wrenched rhymes, eye rhymes--look these up. They add an echo to the writing that is more subtle than the true rhymes. There are others as well. One of my favorites is the so-called "braised rhyme" based on John Berryman and developed by the Oulipo. It requires three words--the consonant of one word and the vowel of the second come together in the third. An example would be "blinked/made/raked".

When you are aware of the varietiess of rhymes, you'll need a rhyming dictionary less. Your own intuition, love of words and inner ear will be sufficient.
posted by subatomiczoo at 5:11 PM on January 17, 2008

I like Sammy Cahn's Rhyming Dictionary. There's a lengthy introduction where he discusses his methods and theories on rhyming, which is the best part. (Sammy Cahn wrote "High Hopes," "Love and Marriage," "Let It Snow," and lots of other stuff.)

It looks like it's out of print, so keep an eye out for it in used bookstores.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 5:26 PM on January 17, 2008

Yeah, rhymezone.com rocks- they give multisyllabic rhymes, which is a great feature.
For instance, when I asked it what rhymes with metafilter, it suggested "throw out of kilter", yeah!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:28 PM on January 17, 2008

I'm a volunteer youth sport coach who has coached kid's sports for nearly fifty years. In that capacity I got into the fun habit of writing a poem about each of my teams--probably over 100 poems for sports teams and farewell parties for assorted friends and associates. As a huge Dr Suess fan, most of my poems are in that style. The sports team poems would include every player's name and some humorous/memorable incident that occurred during the season. Way back when I started I thought a rhyming dictionary would be helpful so I picked up a copy of the Complete Rhyming Dictionary by Gregg Lees. Unfortunately the book was of little help because of the way it was organized so I've always done without. When I saw this thread and learned of the two internet sites RhymeZone and Rhymer and checked them out, I was impressed how helpful they could be. I only wish they had been available when I was starting out. That said however, having done without that resource for so long, I find little need for it today. I agree with subatomiczoo's observation "When you are aware of the varieties of rhymes, you'll need a rhyming dictionary less. Your own intuition, love of words and inner ear will be sufficient.
posted by coachjerry at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2008

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