Do you wanna rhyme,
all of the time,
so bad it’s a crime,
Like a poet,
who knows it?
Then check out Rhymesaurus, which combines a 115,000 word dictionary (containing full definitions), a thesaurus (containing 1000 word categories) and…more to the point… a 120,000 word rhyming dictionary…with no less than 21 different rhyme types…noch…
The program, from ‘Purple Room’ (as opposed to purple dinosaur) Publishing, couldn’t be simpler to use. Just type a word in the search field and press return/’search’. In a split second your results will be displayed in Rhymesaurus’ browser.
All search results are hyperlinked. Click a hyperlink and a brand new set of results will be generated accordingly. You can do this as many times as you want, surfing backwards and forwards between different sets of results by using the browser style backwards and forward buttons.
Below the search field are six radio buttons labelled ‘dictionary’, ‘thesaurus’, ‘rhyme’, ‘sounds like’, ‘wordsurf’ and ‘pattern’. These determine the function being performed and consequently the type of results generated.
The first two options are self explanatory. So is the third, which, when selected, adds a left menu bar, with a choice of 21 different types of rhyme that can be searched for, including perfect/nominative, first/last syllable rhymes, consonant, double consonant, assonant and amphisbaenic (if you don’t know what that means, you can always look it up in Rhymesaurus…) as well as pretty much every other type of rhyme you can think of…or didn’t know existed (don’t worry, the concise help menu explains what all 21 types of rhyme are).
The ‘sounds like’ option allows you to apply one of two standard computing algorithms, ‘Soundex’ and ‘Metaphone’, which use spelling to determine what a word sounds like and then find matches accordingly.
The ‘wordsurf’ option combines the features of a dictionary and thesaurus, but is greater than the sum of the parts, offering the facility to find results bearing a relationship to the searched word (e.g., types of illegal drugs or parts of an automatic weapon…my example…not the manufacturers…). This is done via two additional groups of radio buttons, ‘word type’ (verb, adjective, adverb or all) and ‘relationship’ (synonyms, antonyms, attributes, causes, derived from, entails, part of, parts, types of, type, etc.).
Finally, the pattern matching tool allows you to search for words based on number of syllables and pattern of lexical stress, which is useful for anything that requires a specific metrical pattern.
On the downside, Rhymesaurus’ database, uses public domain electronic reference works derived from Roget’s Thesaurus…as published in 1911…and Webster’s dictionary…as published in 1913…since which time language has moved on and, as Purple Room admit, many modern words are missing. They also admit that The Carnegie Mellon University Pronouncing Dictionary, used by Rhymesaurus, which contains pronunciations for many words that are not in the dictionary or thesaurus, such as proper names, foreign words, etc., is likely to contain errors.
So even though Rhymesaurus is clearly at its best when composing nineteenth century American verse, it is nevertheless an extremely useful piece of software for contemporary composition as well as a good learning tool for anyone who wants to understand more about the way that language works…and at just $35, it’s also great value!
More info: www.purpleroom.com
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