Despite the fact that these words often find their way onto lists of notoriously unrhymable words, they all do have rhymes in English—just so long as bizarre dialect words and obscure scientific jargon are allowed. See what you think.
Acrid rhymes with epacrid (in some pronunciations), a name for any plant of the genus Epacris, most of which are found in Australia.
Angst partially rhymes with both phalanxed, meaning “arranged in rows,” and thanksed, an old word meaning “given thanks to.”
Beige is pronounced so that it sounds more like the first syllable of Asia than it does similarly spelled words like age, gauge, stage, and rage. But that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of a rhyme; there’s also greige, the name for the dull color of undyed fabric.
Bulb rhymes with culb, an obscure 17th-century word for a retort or a barbed reply.
Circle rhymes with hurkle, an old dialect word meaning “to pull your arms and legs in towards your body,” as well as both heterocercal and homocercal, two zoological terms describing the tails of fish that are either asymmetrical or symmetrical, respectively.
Circus has a homophone, cercus, which is the name of a bodily appendage found on certain insects, and so rhymes with cysticercus, another name for a tapeworm larva. If that’s too obscure, why not try rhyming it with murcous—a 17th-century word meaning “lacking a thumb.”
Concierge is a direct borrowing from French, so the number of English words it can rhyme with is already limited. But there is demi-vierge, another French loanword used as an old-fashioned name for a unchaste young woman—or, as Merriam-Webster explains, “a girl … who engages in lewd or suggestive speech and usually promiscuous petting but retains her virginity.” It literally means “half-virgin.”
Dunce rhymes with punce, a dialect word for flattened, pounded meat, or for a sudden hard kick, among other definitions.
False rhymes with valse, which is an alternative name for a waltz, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Film rhymes with pilm, an old southern English word for dust or fine powder.
Gouge rhymes with scrouge, which means “to crowd or crush together.” In 19th century college slang, a scrouge was also a long, dull, or arduous lesson or piece of work.
Gulf rhymes with both sulf, which is another name for toadflax plants, and culf, an old southwest English word for the loose feathers that come out of pillows and cushions.
Music rhymes with both ageusic and dysgeusic, both of which are medical words describing a total lack of or minor malfunction in a person’s sense of taste, respectively.
You’ll no doubt have heard the old fact that nothing rhymes with orange. But in fact, the English surname Gorringe—as in Henry Honeychurch Gorringe, captain of the USS Gettysburg—rhymes with orange. And so does Blorenge, the name of a hill in south Wales. But even if proper nouns like surnames and place names are excluded, that still leaves sporange, an obscure name for the sporangium, which is the part of a plant that produces its spores. So although it might all depend on your accent, on how obscure a word you’re willing to accept, and on precisely where the stress falls in the word (because sporange can either rhyme with orange or be pronounced “spuh-ranj”), it seems there actually is a rhyme for orange.
Purple rhymes with hirple, meaning “to limp” or “walk awkwardly,” and curple, an old Scots word for a leather strap that goes beneath the tail of a horse to secure its saddle (it also more broadly means “buttocks”).
Rhythm rhymes with the English place name Lytham as well as smitham, an old word for fine malt dust or powdered lead ore.
After purple and orange, silver is the third of three English colors supposedly without rhymes. But there is chilver, an old dialect word for a ewe lamb.
Width rhymes with sidth, an English dialect word variously used for the length, depth, or breadth of something—or literally the length of one side.
Window rhymes with tamarindo, a Spanish American drink made of boiled and sweetened tamarind fruit.
A version of this story ran in 2015; it has been updated for 2023.