Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mysteries of the rhyming dictionary

I am one frickin' line away from finishing my latest song. The worst part isn't being stuck there. The worst part is that I'm not finding a line that ends with a suitable rhyme for "you."

D'you know how many words rhyme with "you"? Lots. An embarrassment of riches. Any songwriter who can't fill a rhymes-with-you line with something creative and brilliant isn't worthy of the name.

As I sometimes do in times of trouble, I turned tonight to the handy rhyming dictionary Ron the Drummer gave me for my birthday several years ago. Perhaps revisiting the available words would provide the poke I needed to get moving again.

I looked under do and found the following:
accrue, ado, bamboo, blew, boo, boohoo, brew, caribou, cashew, drew, flew, flue, glue, gnu, goo, grew, Hindu, hitherto, hullabaloo, igloo, impromptu, into, issue, Kalamazoo, kangaroo, kazoo, kickapoo, misconstrue, moo, outdo, overdo, overthrew, peekaboo, Peru, poo, rendezvous, screw, shampoo, shoe, shoo, shrew, Sioux, slew, slue, stew, taboo, tattoo, threw, through, tissue, to, too, true, two, undo, voodoo, wahoo, well-to-do, who, withdrew, woo, yahoo, zoo, Zulu (see you)
I puzzled at the instructions to see you at the end. Generally this dictionary only does that when all the rhymes are listed under the other word.

I flipped to you and found this:
adieu, anew, avenue, barbecue, bayou, chew, choo-choo, cue, curfew, debut, dew, due, ensue, ewe, few, guru, honeydew, hue, I.O.U., imbue, ingenue, interview, Jew, knew, lieu, new, Nehru, overdue, pee-ewe, pew, preview, pursue, renew, residue, revenue, review, spew, subdue, sue, undue, view, yew (see do)
If you gave both entries more than a cursory glance, you may have noticed that these are completely nonoverlapping sets. Any word that appears in the first list doesn't appear in the second.


Something else I just now noticed: neither list includes blue. How is that kickapoo has a presence here, but a basic, oft-used word like blue didn't make the cut?

Who isn't there either.

This bears further investigation.


John Wenger said...

Here's an idea: give us the lyrics you have so far and run a contest to see who comes up with the best answer to your dilemma. In the meanwhile, have you tried "foo"? Short for "fooey."

Jeff Shattuck said...


Check out

It's the best rhyme tool I've found. I even have it bookmarked on my Blackerry!


cinderkeys said...

Dad: Fun idea, except that I'm too much of a control freak for such a contest. ("Foo" is one of those words that works better as a standalone. Although it would be funny to say something like "I'm knee-deep in the foo.")

Jeff: Wow, that site is cool. I looked up "do" on it and discovered that they break the results down by how many syllables the word has! I'll be back.