Rhyming Dictionaries and Thesauruses

28 posts / 0 new
Last post

Yes, I admit it, I use rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses in my songwriting. More specifically, I presently use online versions (WikiRhymer.com or RhymeZone.com for the former, Thesaurus.com for the latter).

I'm just wondering if there are better dictionaries and thesauruses I should be considering, either online or in book form. Anyone have any favorites or suggestions they'd like to share?

I've used rhyme zone before. I find some of the results rather humorous. It will sometimes list words as near rhymes that are clearly not and miss words that are actual rhymes. Since they're just tools to help us wander in the right direction I wouldn't worry too much about which one you use though.

I have used rhyme zone quite a bit. I have Rhyme Genie and MasterWriter installed on my computer and use those sometimes as well. And I have a huge stack of various references I got really cheap at Half Price Books. Sometimes you get inspiration from thumbing through paper!

My favorite rhyming dictionary (on line) is built and maintained by our good friend @Plat


I use Rhymezone a lot as both rhyming dictionary and thesaurus. When I'm feeling low tech, I have a 5 page "vocabulary of rhymes" that I photocopied out of an old dictionary. Neither are perfect.

I've used B-Rhymes a lot. It's on my phone and on the web. Offers near rhymes, which I use A LOT.


I sometimes hate rhyming. It causes you to write awkward lines, and it sounds cheesy.

My songs rhyme
Every occasion

Snap @johnstaples I too have RhymeGenie as well as Masterwriter, and use both.

The dillfrog site has a lot of off rhyme possibilities and other tools as well.

I use Rhymezone and I still feel like I'm cheating when I use it. Last week I wrote a song for the Facebook skirmish group, and I wanted to use some unusual rhymes. I came up with a few on my own but had to resort to Rhymezone for pay/dossier.

Dictionaries aren't cheating. It feels like it sometimes, but it ain't. Any tool that gets you to a better song is legitimate. (Better defined by the writer.)

Thanks for all the suggestions -- there are a couple of sites I'd never heard of above that I'm very much looking forward to checking out. And in that regard, I agree with both @Chip Withrow and @tcelliott -- dictionaries do *feel* a bit like cheating, but in the final analysis, I don't really think they are. They're just tools like any other (hello reverb on my vocals!).

This is the Dillfrog site TC mentioned. http://muse.dillfrog.com/

I don't use a rhyming dictionary much these days. When I do, this is my favorite http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/270426/the-penguin-rhyming-dictionary-by-rosalind-fergusson/... for near sort-of and slant rhymes, plus lots of odd words.

RhymeGenie is excellent. Prior to that, I'd used the paperback 'The Complete Rhyming Dictionary' edited by Clement Wood. Great stuff! But the pages are all well thumbed and falling out now.

Another interesting site that's thrown up some unexpected possibilities is http://www.leerics.com.

As thesauruses go, I've had a lot of mileage out of the 'Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus'.

+1 on the Writer's Thesaurus.

kc5's picture

I sometimes use rhyme zone but since much of my writing is done offline (curling up in a chair with either paper & pen or a book is simply an escape of sorts for me). I use a thesaurus, but so far, I've discovered "The Complete Rhyming Dictionary by Clement Wood to be helpful, even for imperfect rhyming.

I use rhymezone. it does miss lots but i like having a big list of words to look at, even if i come up with a better one or made up word that fits, because it can trigger other areas/directions i might not have thought of. The last couple of years i have been enjoying more loose rhymes and am sometimes surprised at how different a sound can be and still sort of rhyme somehow. I like that freedom. but i def still use rhymezone a lot.

This morning, I just came across http://www.wordhippo.com. Looks interesting. Check it out.

Perfect rhymes are good for Tin Pan Alley, humorous and some Pop songs. Near rhymes work better sometimes for singer songwritery songs.
There's nothing wrong with using rhyming dictionaries. They can take you places you hadn't considered in your lyric

I use Rhyme Genie and I can't imagine writing without it. It gives you rhyme-like things of all kinds—perfect, final syllable rhyme, assonance—and also phrases that end in specific words (I use that feature at least as often as the rhyme feature, if not more).

I'm a *big* fan of perfect rhymes, which I find super satisfying not just in Tin Pan Alley style songs, but really anywhere. They just feel great to my ear. I also feel like looking for perfect rhymes has made my songwriting more creative than it used to be when I didn't mind near rhymes. I don't wanna rhyme "love" with "above" of course so I spend more time thinking about interesting ways to phrase things and use words that might not jump to my mind first thing.

I'm another fan of perfect rhyme, regardless of genre, and use them in my own lyrics whenever possible.

When I'm stumped for a rhyme, I either use my old paperback rhyming dictionary or RhymeZone. More often than not, I'll find a rhyming word or phrase that gives me a new idea for the entire line (and sometimes both lines). I've never thought of that as "cheating" - it's just another form of writing prompt.

Phonetic Word Search is pretty interesting:

If anyone knows similar tools let me know. Wouldn't mind having a tool that finds complete poem & lyric lines as examples like RhymeZone but based on the stresses and the amount of syllables. I think it would be great for ideas and dummy lyrics.

As well as the usual rhyming dictionaries like Rhymezone, I would also suggest the OneLook Dictionary -

Searching with the * before whatever letters you enter brings up all the words/phrases that end with those letters

You can also filter the results by Common Words and Phrases or just Common Words and some other criteria

One of the things I really like about Wikirhymer is the list of phrases at the end of the rhyming words, which can lead to new places.

I was looking for something inobvious ending in "ing," and one of the phrases was "have one's ass in a sling." Another was, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." I count on Wikirhymer to give me those unexpected writing prompts.

Plenty of paper rhyming dictionaries nearby, of course, with a smaller MW or Penguin generally being alongside the smaller travel notebook (I like working with paper and pencil) if space is limited, or the larger Merriam Webster and a paperback Roget's 6 if I'm going somewhere for a while and will be off the grid. I don't think I've found an app which gives me quite the same satisfaction when I'm forced to work offline.

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.http://thegetthetorrents.wordpress.com

Searching with the * before whatever letters you enter brings up all the words/phrases that end with those letters

You can also filter the results by Common Words and Phrases or just Common Words and some other criteria