Some words that are near rhymes with blasphemous are: abacus, activists, adamkus, analysts, animists, calculus, callousness, cannabis, clackamas, fabulous, fatuous and fractiousness.
A perfect rhyme — also called a full rhyme, exact rhyme, or true rhyme — is a rhyme in which the later part of the word or phrase is identical sounding to that of another.
The following conditions are required for a rhyme to be perfect:
Word pairs that satisfy the first condition but not the second (such as the aforementioned "leave" and "believe") are technically identities (also known as identical rhymes or identicals). Homophones are sometimes classified as identical rhymes, though the classification isn't entirely accurate.
A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words, most often at the end of lines in poems and songs. The word "rhyme" may also be used as a pars pro toto to refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.
Rhyme partly seems to be enjoyed simply as a repeating pattern that is pleasant to hear. It also serves as a powerful mnemonic device, facilitating memorization. The regular use of tail rhyme helps to mark off the ends of lines, thus clarifying the metrical structure for the listener. As with other poetic techniques, poets use it to suit their own purposes; for example William Shakespeare often used a rhyming couplet to mark off the end of a scene in a play.
Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller hypothesizes that rhyme is a form of sexually selected handicap imposed on communication making poetry harder and more reliable as a signal of verbal intelligence and overall fitness.
The word rhyme can be used in a specific and a general sense. In the specific sense, two words rhyme if their final stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical; two lines of poetry rhyme if their final strong positions are filled with rhyming words. A rhyme in the strict sense is also called a perfect rhyme. Examples are sight and flight, deign and gain, madness and sadness.
Perfect rhymes can be classified according to the number of syllables included in the rhyme, which is dictated by the location of the final stressed syllable.
In the general sense, general rhyme can refer to various kinds of phonetic similarity between words, and to the use of such similar-sounding words in organizing verse. Rhymes in this general sense are classified according to the degree and manner of the phonetic similarity:
Identical rhymes are considered less than perfect in English poetry; but are valued more highly in other literatures such as, for example, rime riche in French poetry.
Though homophones and homonyms satisfy the first condition for rhyming — that is, that the stressed vowel sound is the same—they do not satisfy the second: that the preceding consonant be different. As stated above, in a perfect rhyme the last stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical in both words.
If the sound preceding the stressed vowel is also identical, the rhyme is sometimes considered to be inferior and not a perfect rhyme after all. An example of such a "super-rhyme" or "more than perfect rhyme" is the "identical rhyme", in which not only the vowels but also the onsets of the rhyming syllables are identical, as in gun and begun. Punning rhymes such are "bare" and "bear" are also identical rhymes. The rhyme may of course extend even farther back than the last stressed vowel. If it extends all the way to the beginning of the line, so that there are two lines that sound identical, then it is called a "holorhyme" ("For I scream/For ice cream").
In poetics these would be considered identity, rather than rhyme.
Eye rhymes or sight rhymes or spelling rhymes refer to similarity in spelling but not in sound where the final sounds are spelled identically by pronounced differently. Examples in English are cough, bough, and love, move.
Some early written poetry appears to contain these, but in many cases the words used rhymed at the time of writing, and subsequent changes in pronunciation have meant that the rhyme is now lost.
Mind rhyme is a kind of substitution rhyme similar to rhyming slang, but it is less generally codified and is “heard” only when generated by a specific verse context. For instance, “this sugar is neat / and tastes so sour.” If a reader or listener thinks of the word “sweet” instead of “sour”, then a mind rhyme has occurred.
Rhymes may be classified according to their position in the verse:
A rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming lines in a poem.
In many languages, including modern European languages and Arabic, poets use rhyme in set patterns as a structural element for specific poetic forms, such as ballads, sonnets and rhyming couplets. Some rhyming schemes have become associated with a specific language, culture or period, while other rhyming schemes have achieved use across languages, cultures or time periods. However, the use of structural rhyme is not universal even within the European tradition. Much modern poetry avoids traditional rhyme schemes.
The earliest surviving evidence of rhyming is the Chinese Shi Jing (ca. 10th century BC). Rhyme is used occasionally in the poems of classical antiquity. For instance, Catullus wrote a poem that rhymed, given here. The ancient Greeks knew rhyme, and rhymes in The Wasps by Aristophanes are noted by a translator. Classical Greek and Latin poetry did not use rhyme. Rhyme is also occasionally used in the Bible.
According to some archaic sources, Irish literature introduced the rhyme to Early Medieval Europe, though this is a disputed claim; in the 7th century we find the Irish had brought the art of rhyming verses to a high pitch of perfection. Also in the 7th Century, rhyme was used in the Qur'an. The leonine verse is notable for introducing rhyme into High Medieval literature in the 12th century.
Rhyme entered European poetry in the High Middle Ages, in part under the influence of the Arabic language in Al Andalus (modern Spain). Arabic language poets used rhyme extensively from the first development of literary Arabic in the sixth century, as in their long, rhyming qasidas.
Since languages change over time, lines which rhymed in the past may no longer rhyme in today's language and it may not be clear how one would pronounce the words so that they rhyme. For example:
"Should we really sing 'harmonious jine' [or 'songs divoin']?"
The word is derived from Old French rime or ryme, which may be derived from Old Frankish *rīm, a Germanic term meaning "series, sequence" attested in Old English (Old English rīm meaning "enumeration, series, numeral") and Old High German rīm, ultimately cognate to Old Irish rím, Greek arithmos "number". Alternatively, the Old French words may derive from Latin rhythmus, from Greek (rhythmos, rhythm).
The spelling rhyme (from original rime) was introduced at the beginning of the Modern English period, due to a learned (but perhaps etymologically incorrect) association with Latin rhythmus. The older spelling rime survives in Modern English as a rare alternative spelling. A distinction between the spellings is also sometimes made in the study of linguistics and phonology, where rime/rhyme is used to refer to the nucleus and coda of a syllable. In this context, some prefer to spell this rime to separate it from the poetic rhyme covered by this article (see syllable rime).
The Qur’an is written in saj‘, a prosaic genre that uses end rhymes. This particular style was widespread in the Arabic peninsula during the time of the Qur’an's appearance.
Rhyming in the Celtic Languages takes a drastically different course from most other Western rhyming schemes despite strong contact with the Romance and English patterns. Even today, despite extensive interaction with English and French culture, Celtic rhyme continues to demonstrate native characteristics. Brian Ó Cuív sets out the rules of rhyme in Irish poetry of the classical period: the last stressed vowel and any subsequent long vowels must be identical in order for two words to rhyme. Consonants are grouped into six classes for the purpose of rhyme: they need not be identical, but must belong to the same class. Thus 'b' and 'd' can rhyme (both being 'voiced plosives'), as can 'bh' and 'l' (which are both 'voiced continuants') but 'l', a 'voiced continuant', cannot rhyme with 'ph', a 'voiceless continuant'. Furthermore, "for perfect rhyme a palatalized consonant may be balanced only by a palatalized consonant and a velarized consonant by a velarized one." In the post-Classical period, these rules fell into desuetude, and in popular verse simple assonance often suffices, as can be seen in an example of Irish Gaelic rhyme from the traditional song Bríd Óg Ní Mháille:
Translation: Oh young Bridget O'Malley / You have left my heart breaking
Here the vowels are the same, but the consonants, although both palatalized, do not fall into the same class in the bardic rhyming scheme.
Besides the vowel/consonant aspect of rhyming, Chinese language rhymes often include tone quality (that is, tonal contour) as an integral linguistic factor in determining rhyme.
Use of rhyme in Classical Chinese poetry typically but not always appears in the form of paired couplets, with end-rhyming in the final syllable of each couplet.
Another important aspect of rhyme in regard to Chinese language studies is the study or reconstruction of past varieties of Chinese, such as Middle Chinese.
Old English poetry is mostly alliterative verse. One of the earliest rhyming poems in English is The Rhyming Poem.
As English is a language in which stress is important, lexical stress is one of the factors affecting the similarity of sounds for the perception of rhyme. Perfect rhyme can be defined as the case when two words rhyme if their final stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical.
Some words in English, such as "orange", are commonly regarded as having no rhyme. Although a clever writer can get around this (for example, by obliquely rhyming "orange" with combinations of words like "door hinge" or with lesser-known words like "Blorenge", a hill in Wales), it is generally easier to move the word out of rhyming position or replace it with a synonym ("orange" could become "amber").
One view of rhyme in English is from John Milton's preface to Paradise Lost:
A more tempered view is taken by W. H. Auden in The Dyer's Hand:
Forced or clumsy rhyme is often a key ingredient of doggerel.
In French poetry, unlike in English, it is common to have "identical rhymes", in which not only the vowels of the final syllables of the lines rhyme, but their onset consonants ("consonnes d'appui") as well. To the ear of someone accustomed to English verse, this often sounds like a very weak rhyme. For example, an English perfect rhyme of homophones, flour and flower, would seem weak, whereas a French rhyme of homophones doigt and doit is not only acceptable but quite common.
Rhymes are sometimes classified into the categories "rime pauvre" ("poor rhyme"), "rime suffisante" ("sufficient rhyme"), "rime riche" ("rich rhyme") and "rime richissime" ("very rich rhyme"), according to the number of rhyming sounds in the two words or in the parts of the two verses. For example to rhyme "parla" with "sauta" would be a poor rhyme (the words have only the vowel in common), to rhyme "pas" with "bras" a sufficient rhyme (with the vowel and the silent consonant in common), and "tante" with "attente" a rich rhyme (with the vowel, the onset consonant, and the coda consonant with its mute "e" in common). Authorities disagree, however, on exactly where to place the boundaries between the categories.
Holorime is an extreme example of rime richissime spanning an entire verse. Alphonse Allais was a notable exponent of holorime. Here is an example of a holorime couplet from Marc Monnier:
Classical French rhyme not only differs from English rhyme in its different treatment of onset consonants. It also treats coda consonants in a distinctive way.
French spelling includes several final letters that are no longer pronounced, and that in many cases have never been pronounced. Such final unpronounced letters continue to affect rhyme according to the rules of Classical French versification. They are encountered in almost all of the pre-20th-century French verse texts, but these rhyming rules are almost never taken into account from the 20th century.
The most important "silent" letter is the "mute e". In spoken French today, final "e" is, in some regional accents (in Paris for example), omitted after consonants; but in Classical French prosody, it was considered an integral part of the rhyme even when following the vowel. "Joue" could rhyme with "boue", but not with "trou". Rhyming words ending with this silent "e" were said to make up a "feminine rhyme", while words not ending with this silent "e" made up a "masculine rhyme". It was a principle of stanza-formation that masculine and feminine rhymes had to alternate in the stanza. All 17th-century French plays in verse alternate masculine and feminine alexandrine couplets.
The "silent" final consonants present a more complex case. They, too, were considered an integral part of the rhyme, so that "pont" could rhyme only with "vont" and not with "long"; but this cannot be reduced to a simple rule about the spelling, since "pont" would also rhyme with "rond" even though one word ends in "t" and the other in "d". This is because the correctness of the rhyme depends not on the spelling on the final consonant, but on how it would have been pronounced. There are a few simple rules that govern word-final consonants in French prosody:
In fact, only the "silent" final consonants which would be able to be pronounced the same way, if they were followed by a vowel, are able to rhyme together.
Ancient Hebrew verse generally did not employ rhyme. However, many Jewish liturgical poems rhyme today, because they were written in medieval Europe, where rhymes were in vogue.
In Latin rhetoric and poetry homeoteleuton and alliteration were frequently used devices.
Tail rhyme was occasionally used, as in this piece of poetry by Cicero:
But tail rhyme was not used as a prominent structural feature of Latin poetry until it was introduced under the influence of local vernacular traditions in the early Middle Ages. This is the Latin hymn Dies Irae:
Medieval poetry may mix Latin and vernacular languages. Mixing languages in verse or rhyming words in different languages is termed macaronic.
Portuguese classifies rhymes in the following manner:
Rhyme was introduced into Russian poetry in the 18th century. Folk poetry had generally been unrhymed, relying more on dactylic line endings for effect. Rhyme depends on a vowel and adjacent consonant (which may include the semivowel Short I). Vowel pairs rhyme - even though non-Russian speakers may not perceive them as the same sound. Consonant pairs rhyme if both are devoiced. Early 18th century poetry demanded perfect rhymes which were also grammatical rhymes, namely that noun endings rhymed with noun endings, verb endings with verb endings, and so on. Such rhymes relying on morphological endings become much rarer in modern Russian poetry, and greater use is made of approximate rhymes.
Patterns of rich rhyme (prāsa) play a role in modern Sanskrit poetry, but only to a minor extent in historical Sanskrit texts. They are classified according to their position within the pada (metrical foot): ādiprāsa (first syllable), dvitīyākṣara prāsa (second syllable), antyaprāsa (final syllable) etc.
There are some unique rhyming schemes in Dravidian languages like Tamil. Specifically, the rhyme called etukai (anaphora) occurs on the second consonant of each line.
The other rhyme and related patterns are called mōnai (alliteration), toṭai (epiphora) and iraṭṭai kiḷavi (parallelism).
Some classical Tamil poetry forms, such as veṇpā, have rigid grammars for rhyme to the point that they could be expressed as a context-free grammar.
List of English words without rhymes
Rhyme Genie is a rhyming dictionary software developed by Idolumic for the Mac OS X, iOS and Microsoft Windows platforms. Initially released in 2009 it was introduced as the world's first dynamic rhyming dictionary with 30 different rhyme types, 300,000 entries and more than 9 million phonetic references. One of the software's main features is an intelligent rhyme algorithm that enables users to find near rhymes, also referred to as half or slant rhymes, by adjusting the similarity in sound between the search word and prospective rhyme mates.
Rhyme Genie can find 26 traditional types of rhymes, 2 phonetic algorithms (Metaphone, Soundex) and 2 proprietary rhyme algorithms (Related Rhyme, Intelligent Rhyme) to offer a total of 30 different rhyme types:
Additive Rhyme, Alliteration, Amphisbaenic Rhyme, Apocopated Rhyme, Assonance, Broken Rhyme, Consonance, Diminished Rhyme, Double Assonance, Double Consonance, Elided Rhyme, Family Rhyme, Feminine Pararhyme, Final Syllable Rhyme, First Syllable Rhyme, Full Assonance, Full Consonance, Half Double Rhyme, Homophone, Intelligent Rhyme, Light Rhyme, Metaphone, Pararhyme, Perfect Rhyme, Related Rhyme, Reverse Rhyme, Rich Rhyme, Soundex, Trailing Rhyme, Weakened Rhyme
Rhyme Genie 1.0 was released in September 2009 to introduce the first generation of the intelligent rhyme and an integrated thesaurus with 2.5 million synonyms. Further incremental updates have added support for heteronyms, a wordfilter with over 100,000 parts of speech and a redesigned multi-syllabic option that allows the intelligent rhyme to automatically switch to monosyllabic rhymes whenever a search word does not produce rhyme mates that match two or more syllables.
Rhyme Genie 2.0 was released in May 2010 to introduce a selectable songwriter dictionary compiled from more than 100 million words in over 600,000 song lyrics. An updated intelligent rhyme algorithm now distinguishes between primary and secondary stress in words to find more near rhymes with greater accuracy.
Rhyme Genie 3.0 was released in January 2011 to introduce a thesaurus that not only matches the meaning but also the number of syllables of words.
Rhyme Genie 4.0 was released in January 2012 to introduce a new accompanying songwriting software named TuneSmith that is able to run the Mac version of the rhyming dictionary as a plug-in. Developed by Idolumic, TuneSmith includes an advanced lyrics editor, a copyright tracker and a pitch journal to assist songwriters in the creation and administration of their songs. TuneSmith's copyright tracker enables users to track the writer and publisher portions of copyright splits and oversee copyright registrations of added songs. An integrated audio recorder can capture melodies or maintain commercially released studio recordings in AIFF, WAVE or MP3. In addition, a pitch journal allows songwriters to track hold periods, release dates and chart positions of pitched songs.
The following is a list of English words without rhymes, called refractory rhymes—that is, a list of words in the English language which rhyme with no other English word. The word "rhyme" here is used in the strict sense, called a perfect rhyme, that the words are pronounced the same from the vowel of the main stressed syllable onwards. The list was compiled from the point of view of Received Pronunciation (with a few exceptions for General American), and may not work for other accents or dialects. Multiple-word rhymes (a phrase that rhymes with a word, known as a phrasal or mosaic rhyme), self-rhymes (adding a prefix to a word and counting it as a rhyme of itself), and identical rhymes (words that are identical in their stressed syllables, such as bay and obey) are often not counted as true rhymes and have not been considered. Only the list of one-syllable words can hope to be anything near complete; for polysyllabic words, rhymes are the exception rather than the rule.
Following the strict definition of rhyme, a perfect rhyme demands the exact match of all sounds from the last stressed vowel to the end of the word. Therefore, words with the stress far from the end are more likely to have no perfect rhymes. For instance, a perfect rhyme for discomBOBulate would have to rhyme three syllables, -OBulate. There are many words that match most of the sounds from the stressed vowel onwards and so are near rhymes, called slant rhymes. Ovulate, copulate, and populate, for example, vary only slightly in one consonant, and thus provide very usable rhymes for most situations in which a rhyme for discombobulate is desired. However, no other English word has exactly these three final syllables with this stress pattern. And since in most traditions the stressed syllable should not be identical—the consonant before the stressed vowel should be different—adding a prefix to a word, as be-elbow, does not create a perfect rhyme for it.
Words that rhyme in one accent or dialect may not rhyme in another. A commonplace example of this is the word of, which when stressed had no rhymes in British Received Pronunciation prior to the 19th century, but which rhymed with love in General American. (When unstressed, it's a homonym for have.) In the other direction, iron has no rhyme in General American, but many in RP. Words may also have more than one pronunciation, one with a rhyme, and one without.
This lists includes rhymes of words that have been listed as rhymeless.
Perhaps the majority of words with antepenultimate stress, such as animal, citizen, comedy, dangerous, and obvious, and with preantepenultimate stress, such as necessary, logarithm, algorithm and sacrificing, have no rhyme, so a list would not be interesting.
Refractory one-syllable rhymes are uncommon; there may be fewer than a hundred in English. A great many end in a present or historical suffix -th, or are plural or participle forms. This list includes a few polysyllabic masculine rhymes such as oblige, which have one syllable in their rhyming part.
pork has no rhymes in conservative RP. However, the distinction between four and for has been lost in younger generations, and for them pork rhymes with fork etc. ().
Nonce words ending in -ed ('provided with') may produce other potentially refractory masculine rhymes. There are additional words which are only partially assimilated into English, such as Russian kovsh , which are refractory rhymes.
Although not meant as a complete list, there are some additional refractory rhymes in GA. Some of these are due to RP being a non-rhotic accent, and having merged rhymes formerly distinguished by .
Once the stress shifts to the penultimate syllable, rhymeless words are quite common, perhaps even the norm: there may be more rhymeless words than words with rhymes. The following words are representative, but there are thousands of others.
Broken rhyme, also called Split rhyme, is a form of rhyme. It is produced by dividing a word at the line break of a poem to make a rhyme with the end word of another line. Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem The Windhover, for example, divides the word "kingdom" at the end of the first line to rhyme with the word "wing" ending the fourth line. Hopkins is rare in using the device in serious poems. More commonly, the device is used in comic or playful poetry, as in the sixth stanza of Edward Lear's "How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear" or in Elizabeth Bishop's "Pink Dog":
Here, the word "nightgown" has been split over the third and fourth lines so that the first and third lines form a tail rhyme.
Rayok literally means "small paradise" in Russian. By extension it came to mean a fairground peep show, as "The Fall" was one of the most popular topics for these. The show itself was performed with the help of a box with pictures viewed through magnifying lenses. The show was accompanied with lewd rhymed jokes.
The term "rayok" has also become applied to rhymed humorous "talk shows" without any peeping, a special kind of rhymed prose. The expression "to talk rayok" (говорить райком) means to speak in a rhymed, humorous way, to patter. Rayok, both show and talk forms, was an occupation of wandering artists called rayoshniks.
Its use as the title for a piece of music implies a scurrilous entertainment. The word rayok was used in the titles of the following works:
Religious and spiritual use of cannabis
Rhyming slang is a form of phrase construction in the English language and is especially prevalent in dialectal English from the East End of London; hence the alternative name, Cockney rhyming slang (or CRS). The construction involves replacing a common word with a rhyming phrase of two or three words and then, in almost all cases, omitting the secondary rhyming word (which is thereafter implied), in a process called hemiteleia, making the origin and meaning of the phrase elusive to listeners not in the know.
The most frequently cited example involves the replacement of "stairs" with the rhyming phrase "apples and pears". Following the usual pattern of omission, "and pears" is dropped and "stairs" is referred to as "apples". Thus the spoken phrase "I'm going up the apples" means "I'm going up the stairs".
In similar fashion, "telephone" is replaced by "dog" (= 'dog-and-bone'); "wife" by "trouble" (= 'trouble-and-strife'); "eyes" by "mincers" (= 'mince pies'); "wig" by "syrup" (= 'syrup of figs') and "feet" by "plates" (= 'plates of meat'). Thus a construction of the following type could conceivably arise: "It nearly knocked me off me plates—he was wearing a syrup! So I ran up the apples, got straight on the dog to me trouble and said I couldn't believe me mincers."
In some examples the meaning is further obscured by adding a second iteration of rhyme and truncation to the original rhymed phrase. For example, the word "Aris" is often used to indicate the buttocks. This is the result of a double rhyme, starting with the original rough synonym "arse", which is rhymed with "bottle and glass", leading to "bottle". "Bottle" was then rhymed with "Aristotle" and truncated to "Aris".
The use of rhyming slang has spread beyond the purely dialectal and some examples are to be found in the mainstream British English lexicon and internationally, although many users may be unaware of the origin of those words. One example is "berk", a mild pejorative widely used across the UK and not usually considered particularly offensive, although the origin lies in a contraction of "Berkeley Hunt", as the rhyme for the significantly more offensive "cunt". Another example is to "have a butcher's" for to have a look, from "butcher's hook".
Most of the words changed by this process are nouns. A few are adjectival e.g. 'bales' (of cotton = rotten), or the adjectival phrase 'on one's tod' = 'on one's own (Tod Sloan, a famous jockey).
Rhyming slang is believed to have originated in the mid-19th century in the East End of London, with several sources suggesting some time in the 1840s.
According to Partridge (1972:12), it dates from around 1840 and arose in the East End of London, however John Camden Hotten in his 1859 Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant and Vulgar Words states that (English) rhyming slang originated "about twelve or fifteen years ago" (i.e. in the 1840s) with 'chaunters' and 'patterers' in the Seven Dials area of London. (The reference is to travelling salesmen of certain kinds. Chaunters sold sheet music and patterers offered cheap, tawdry goods at fairs and markets up and down the country). Hotten's Dictionary included a "Glossary of the Rhyming Slang", the first known such work. It included later mainstays such as "Frog and toad—the main road" and "Apples and pears—stairs" as well as many that later grew more obscure, e.g. "Battle of the Nile—a tile (vulgar term for a hat)", "Duke of York—take a walk", and "Top of Rome—home".
It remains a matter of speculation whether rhyming slang was a linguistic accident, a game, or a cryptolect developed intentionally to confuse non-locals. If deliberate, it may also have been used to maintain a sense of community. It is possible that it was used in the marketplace to allow traders to talk amongst themselves in order to facilitate collusion, without customers knowing what they were saying. Another suggestion is that it may have been used by criminals (see thieves' cant) to confuse the police.
At any point in history, in any location, rhyming slang can be seen to incorporate words and phrases that are relevant at that particular time and place. Many examples are based on locations in London and, in all likelihood, will be meaningless to people unfamiliar with the capital e.g. "Peckham Rye", meaning "tie" (as in necktie), which dates from the late 19th century; "Hampstead Heath", meaning "teeth" (usually as "Hampsteads”), which was first recorded in 1887 and "Barnet Fair", meaning "hair", which dates from the 1850s. (In these examples and many subsequent ones the final step of hemiteleia has been omitted in order to allow the reader more readily to trace the origin of the substituted words).
By the mid-20th century many rhyming slang expressions used the names of contemporary personalities, especially actors and performers: for example "Gregory Peck" meaning "neck" and also "cheque"; "Ruby Murray" meaning "curry"; "Alans", meaning "knickers" from Alan Whicker; "Max Miller" meaning "pillow" when pronounced /ˈpilə/ and "Henry Halls" for "balls (testicles)".
The use of personal names as rhymes continued into the late 20th century, for example "Tony Blairs" meaning "flares", as in trousers with a wide bottom (previously this was "Lionel Blairs" and this change illustrates the ongoing mutation of the forms of expression) and "Britney Spears", meaning "beers".
Many examples have passed into common usage. Some substitutions have become relatively widespread in England in their contracted form. "To have a butcher's", meaning to have a look, originates from "butcher's hook", an S-shaped hook used by butchers to hang up meat, and dates from the late 19th century but has existed independently in general use from around the 1930s simply as "butchers". Similarly, "use your loaf", meaning "use your head", derives from "loaf of bread" and also dates from the late 19th century but came into independent use in the 1930s. To "have a giraffe" is commonly employed for a "laugh", although technically this does not involve hemitelea.
Rhyming slang, in keeping with the rest of the language, is at the mercy of what one might loosely refer to as "false etymology". An example occurs that involves the term "barney", which has been used to mean an altercation or fight since the late 19th century, although without a clear derivation. Thus, in 1964, in A Hard Day's Night, John Lennon mischievously taunts the road manager with the line “If you're gonna have a barney, can I hold your coat?". In the 2001 feature film Ocean's Eleven Don Cheadle uses the term "barney" and the claim is made that this rhyme is derived from Barney Rubble, ("trouble") with references to a character from the Flintstones cartoon show. This usage can be seen either as an abuse of history, or as a good example of the ever-changing nature of rhyming slang.
Rhyming slang is used mainly in London in England but can to some degree be understood across the country. Some constructions, however, rely on particular regional accents for the rhymes to work. The term "Charing Cross" for example (a place in London) has been used to mean "horse" since the mid-19th century but does not rhyme unless "horse" is pronounced as "hoss" - possibly indicating the local-dialect pronunciation of the word at the time. A similar example is "Joanna" meaning "piano", which is based on the pronunciation of "piano" as "pianna" ). Unique formations also exist in other parts of the United Kingdom, such as in the East Midlands, where the local accent has formed "Derby Road", which rhymes with "cold", a conjunction that would not be possible elsewhere in the UK.
Outside England, rhyming slang is used in many English-speaking countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, but is not in general use in the United States. (Some notable exceptions: "bread" [bread & honey = money], "blow a raspberry" [raspberry tart = fart] and "put up your dukes" [Duke of York = fork, a Cockney slang term for "fist"].) In Australian slang the term for an English person is "pommy", which has been proposed as a rhyme on "pomegranate" rhyming with "immigrant". A more recent Australian invention is the term "reginalds" to describe underpants (referred to as "undies" in Australian slang), from "Reg Grundies" after Reg Grundy, the Australian media tycoon. In Australia and South Africa, the colloquial term "China" is derived from "mate" rhyming with "China plate" (the identical form, heard in expressions like "me old China" is also a long-established Cockney idiom).
In London rhyming slang is continually evolving, and new phrases are introduced all the time. As mentioned new personalities replace old ones (as in Lionel/Tony Blairs—flares), or pop culture introduces new words—as in "I haven't a Scooby" (from Scooby Doo, the eponymous cartoon dog of the cartoon series) meaning "I haven't a clue".
Rhyming slang is often used as a substitute for words regarded as taboo, often to the extent that the association with the taboo word becomes unknown over time. "Berk" (often used to mean "foolish person") originates from the most famous of all fox hunts, the "Berkeley Hunt" meaning "cunt"; "cobblers" (often used in the context "what you said is rubbish") originates from "cobbler's awls", meaning "balls" (as in testicles); and "hampton" meaning "prick" (as in penis) originates from "Hampton Wick" (a place in London).
Lesser taboo terms include "pony and trap" for "crap" (as in defecate, but often used to denote nonsense or low quality); to blow a raspberry (rude sound of derision) from raspberry tart for "fart"; "D'Oyly Carte" for "fart"; "Jimmy Riddle" for "piddle" (as in urinate), "J. Arthur Rank" (a film mogul), "Jodrell Bank" or "ham shank" for "wank", "Bristol Cities" (contracted to 'Bristols') for "titties", etc. "Taking the Mick" or "taking the Mickey" is thought to be a rhyming slang form of "taking the piss", where "Mick" came from "Mickey Bliss".
Rhyming slang terms for Jew have included "Chelsea Blue", "Stick of Glue", "Four by Two", "Buckle my shoe", and "Front Wheel Skid", which is a more palatable form of the insulting term "Yid", short for Yiddish, the language spoken by many Jewish immigrants to the UK in the early 20th century.][
In December 2004 Joe Pasquale, winner of the fourth series of ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, became well known for his frequent use of the term "Jacobs", for Jacob's Crackers, a rhyming slang term for knackers i.e. testicles.
The term Jacobs was used in a line uttered by Brick Top in the movie Snatch: "Listen, you fucking fringe, if I throw a dog a bone, I don't want to know if it tastes good or not. You stop me again whilst I'm walking, and I'll cut your fucking Jacobs off."
Rhyming slang is used, then described and a number of examples suggested as dialogue in one scene of the 1967 film To Sir With Love starring Sidney Poitier. The English students are telling their foreign teacher that the slang is a drag and something for old people.
In Britain rhyming slang had a resurgence of popular interest beginning in the 1970s resulting from its use in a number of London-based television programmes such as Steptoe and Son, Mind Your Language, The Sweeney (the title of which is itself rhyming slang—"Sweeney Todd" for "Flying Squad", a rapid response unit of London’s Metropolitan Police), Minder, Citizen Smith, Only Fools and Horses, and EastEnders. Minder could be quite uncompromising in its use of obscure forms without any clarification. Thus the non-Cockney viewer was obliged to deduce that, say, "iron" was "male homosexual" ('iron' = 'iron hoof' = 'poof'). One episode in Series 5 of Steptoe and Son was entitled "Any Old Iron", for the same reason, when Albert thinks that Harold is 'on the turn'.
There is increased interest in "Nominative CRS" or "Nominative Cockney rhyming slang", a derivative of Nominative Determinism, in which the rhyming slang for a celebrity's name is chosen not only to rhyme but also in line with their behaviour. A prominent example is that of Bob Hope being used as rhyming slang for dope, after Bob Hope admitted smoking marijuana.
In The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, a comic twist was added to rhyming slang by way of spurious and fabricated examples which a young man had laboriously to explain to his father (e.g. 'dustbins' meaning 'children', as in 'dustbin lids' = 'kids'; 'Teds' being 'Ted Heath' and thus 'teeth'; and even 'Chitty Chitty' being 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', and thus 'rhyming slang'...).
In modern literature, Cockney rhyming slang is used frequently in the novels and short stories of Kim Newman, for instance in the short story collections "The Man from the Diogenes Club" (2006) and "Secret Files of the Diogenes Club" (2007), where it is explained at the end of each book. Also, in the novel Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett, this slang is frequently used.
In popular music, Spike Jones and his City Slickers recorded "So 'Elp Me", based on rhyming slang (without the hemiteleia), in 1950. London-based artists such as Audio Bullys and Chas & Dave (and others from elsewhere in the UK, such as The Streets, who are from Birmingham) frequently use rhyming slang in their songs. The UK punk scene of the late 1970s introduced bands that glorified their working-class heritage: Sham 69 had a hit song "The Cockney Kids are Innocent". The idiom made a brief appearance in the UK-based DJ reggae music of the 1980s in the hit "Cockney Translation" by Smiley Culture of South London; this was followed a couple of years later by Domenick and Peter Metro's "Cockney and Yardie". The 1967 Kinks song "Harry Rag" was based on the usage of the name Harry Wragg as rhyming slang for "fag" (i.e. a cigarette).
In movies, Cary Grant's character teaches rhyming slang to his female companion in the film Mr. Lucky (1943) and describes it as Australian rhyming slang. The closing song of the 1969 Michael Caine crime caper, The Italian Job, ("Getta Bloomin' Move On" a.k.a. "The Self Preservation Society") contains many slang terms. In present day feature films rhyming slang is often used to lend authenticity to an East End setting. Examples include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) (wherein the slang is translated via subtitles in one scene); The Limey (1999); Sexy Beast (2000); Snatch (2000); Ocean's Eleven (2001); and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002); It's All Gone Pete Tong (2004), after BBC radio disc jockey Pete Tong whose name is used in this context as rhyming slang for "wrong"; Green Street Hooligans (2005).
In Scottish Football, a number of Clubs have nicknames taken from rhyming slang. Partick Thistle are known as the "Harry Rags", which is taken from the rhyming slang of their 'official' nickname "the jags". Rangers are known as the "Teddy Bears", which comes from the rhyming slang for "the Gers" (shortened version of Ran-gers). Heart of Midlothian are known as the "Jambos", which comes from "Jam Tarts" which is the rhyming slang for "Hearts" which is the common abbreviation of the Club's name. Hibernian are also referred to as "The Cabbage" which comes from Cabbage and Ribs being the rhyming slang for Hibs.
On the TV show The League in episode The Guest Bong, Andre repeatedly uses cockney rhyming slang and explains the pattern. One of the times he uses it, he uses "Christmas Carol" as shorthand for "barrel", which causes a misunderstanding that becomes a plot point.