Monday, September 05, 2005


A virtual rhyming dictionary that's quite popular--googling Rhyming Dictionary always returns it first--can be found at rhymezone. As rhyming dictionaries go, it is peculiar, to say the least. Every surname, however obscure, that once appeared in some census or other has been duly catalogued, whereas some obvious rhymes have not.

Most recently, I searched child: the result omitted reconciled and defiled, though refiled was included. According to this authority, defiled has no rhymes at all, while reconciled has but one--unreconciled. So it is with adulterated: it rhymes only with unadulterated. One senses that some programmer fed a glossary, a gazetteer, a Brooklyn telephone directory and a set of parameters gleaned from some lexicographer's definition of rhyme into a mainframe and simply let nature take its course. Indeed, given the prevalence of odd surnames in the database, it is possible that the webmaster considers that the sole purpose of a rhyming dictionary is to assist the user to compose limericks about immigrants.

The site invites feedback, but I've perceived no effect from the feedback I've given. What's wanted is a Wikipedia of Rhymes. The great merit of the Internet is its potential to aggregate in one massive work of reference the combined knowledge of all mankind, through the casual accretions of websurfers. Wikipedia has caught on to this; rhymezone hasn't.


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