Every year, the same for Orange

That’s the title of this Awkward Yeti comic from 12/11/13:

CAT with HAT, WALL with BALL, and LOG with DOG, while ORANGE stands alone. It’s the celebrated “nothing rhymes with ORANGE” trope.

(Several Facebook commenters noted that LOG and DOG don’t rhyme for them, as they do not, in fact, for me: I have /a/ in LOG, /ɔ/ in DOG.)

From the 12/8/09 Language Log posting “Rhymes” by Mark Liberman, first quoting Laura Wattenberg:

Here’s a little pet peeve of mine: nothing rhymes with orange. You’ve heard that before, right? Orange is famous for its rhymelessness. There’s even a comic strip called “Rhymes with Orange.” Fine then, let me ask you something. What the heck rhymes with purple?

If you stop and think about it, you’ll find that English is jam-packed with rhymeless common words. What rhymes with empty, or olive, or silver, or circle? You can even find plenty of one-syllable words like wolf, bulb, and beige. Yet orange somehow became notorious for its rhymelessness, with the curious result that people now assume its status is unique.

Mark then did some quick-and-dirty research on rhyme sets in English (which turned out to be a more complex enterprise than you might have thought) and concluded:

some checking of random samples convinces me that any similar exercise, carried out on any similar sort of dictionary, will also reach the conclusion that overall, orange is indeed the norm: singleton rhyme-sets are more common than any other size.

Now, on The Awkward Yeti, from its Facebook page:

The Awkward Yeti webcomic series started in 2012 by cartoonist Nick Seluk and includes a variety of formats and styles about science, life, psychology, social awkwardness and our inner dialogue.

and from its website, in Seluk’s words:

Originally based on a terrible painting I had done in 2010, The Awkward Yeti starred in his own children’s book of the same title in late 2012. I released my first volume of cartoons and comics in October 2013

… I work full time as a Senior Designer, even though my bachelor’s degree is psychology. I’ve always loved drawing, especially cartoons, because I’ve found it’s the best way to explain what I have going on in my head. The way I observe, the frequent use of irony and sarcasm, the ridiculous nature of the world, general silliness and even the reasons I love having kids. I change my format and style to fit my mood and subject, even down to the word bubbles.

One Response to “Every year, the same for Orange”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    An ingenious Victorian attempt:

    From the Indus to the Blorenge
    Came the Rajah in a month,
    Sucking now and then an orange,
    Conning all the day his Grunth.

    (Apparently the Blorenge is a hill in Wales, and of course the Sri Granth is the Sikh sacred book).

    Many more attempts are recorded in Wikipedia’s Orange_(word)

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