Difficult Rhymes

It has been said that there are no rhymes (Note: The word “rhyme” is used in a strict sense, called perfect rhyme, that the words are pronounced the same from the vowel of the main stressed syllable onwards.) for purple, orange, and silver, there are these.


  • Hirple – (British) walk lamely or hobble
  • Curple – hindquarters, especially of a horse
  • Burplea discontinued drink mix that was packaged in an expandable accordion-like plastic container.

The following is a poem by David R. B. Pekrul titled “What Rhymes With Purple”.

They say there is nothing that rhymes with purple,
But how ’bout a thing that’s called Maple Syruple?
And small little birds who go tweet and chirple,
Now those are the things that will rhyme with purple.

They say there is nothing that rhymes with purple,
But what about those who eat and then burple?
Which sounds very rude and not like a chirple,
But those are the things that will rhyme with purple.

Purple and syruple and chirple and burple,
The man Wyatt Earp, he was known as Eurple,
That is my story; my name’s Harry Hurple,
Excuse me while I have some purple syruple.


  • Blorenge – a hill near Abergavenny, Wales
  • Sporange – a sac in which spores are produced; sporangium

An anonymous 19th century poet in a London weekly, Athenaeum, 1865, wrote this orange ditty.

The second James a daughter had,
Too fine to lick a porringer;
He sought her out a noble lad,
And gave the Prince of Orange her.

And here’s one from Willard Espy’s The Game of Words (1972).

The four eng-
wear orange


  • Wilver – “Willie” Stargell, a former baseball player and coach
  • Chilver – an ewe lamb

And here is Stephen Sondheim’s solution, first published in Time Magazine, but also in Willard Espy’s An Almanac of Words at Play (1975).

To find a rhyme for silver,
Or any “rhymeless” rhyme
Requires only will, ver-
bosity and time.

Combining Them All…

In this poem by David Morice, Word Ways, May 1993, all three colors merge into an anecdote about the favorite drink of one of the Wild West’s colorful figures.

Wyatt Earp’ll
Shoot till he’s purple,
Then carefully chill ver-
mouth in a silver
Cup, which he’ll pour, inj-
ecting an orange.

Other Stubborn Rhymes


The King sent for his wise men all
To find a rhyme for W.
When they had thought a good long time,
But could not think of a single rhyme,
“I’m sorry,” said he, “to trouble you.”

– James Reeves


Having once gained the summit,
and managed to cross it, he
Rolls down the side with uncommon

– Richard Harris Barham


A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican!

– Dixon Lanier Merritt

Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

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