Rhyming dictionary

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A rhyming dictionary is a specialist dictionary designed for use in writing poetry and lyrics. In a rhyming dictionary, words are categorized into equivalence classes that consist of words which rhyme with one another. They will also typically support several different kinds of rhymes, and possibly also alliteration as well.

Because rhyming dictionaries are based on pronunciation, they are difficult to compile. Words and rhyming patterns change their pronunciation over time and between dialects. Rhyming dictionaries for Old English, Elizabethan poetry, or Standard English would have quite different content. Rhyming dictionaries are invaluable for historical linguistics – as they record pronunciation, they can be used to reconstruct pronunciation differences and similarities that are not necessarily reflected in spelling.

A simple reverse dictionary, which collates words starting from the end, provides a rough rhyming dictionary, to the extent that spelling follows pronunciation, but a precise rhyming dictionary reflects pronunciation, not spelling.

Simple reverse dictionary

Walker's Rhyming Dictionary, one of the oldest, lists words in alphabetical order of the reversed word, with an appendix covering the differently spelled but homo-phonic endings.[1]


Word Reversed Definition
Felucca acculef A small open boat, s.
Angelica acilegna A plant, s.
Basilica acilisab The middle vein of the arm, a.
Vomica acimov An encysted tumour in the lungs, a.
Pica acip The green sickness; a printing letter, a.
Sciatica acitaics The hip-gout, s.
Anasarca acrasana A sort of dropsy, or pitting of the flesh, s.
Armada adamra A large fleet of ships of war, s.
Cassada adassac An American plant, s.
Coloquintida aditniuqoloc The bitter apple, s.
Asafoetida aditeofasa A stinking gum, s.
Credenda adnederc Articles of faith, s. plur.
Panacea aecanap A universal medicine; an herh, a.
Idea aedi Mental imagination, s.
Bohea aehob A species of tea, s.
Lea ael Grass land enclosed, s,
Flea aelf A troublesome insect, s. -r

See also


  1. J A Walker (1819). A rhyming dictionary.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>