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Painful Rhyme

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Well, they are skunks; of course their rhyming skills stink too.
"Nothing rhymes with that. What is he going to put there? Coachable? Poachable? No. No. He's either going to rhyme it with itself, or he's going to come up with this horrible forced rhyme that won't fit at all unless he twists the words beyond recognition."
Todd in the Shadows, on rhyming "unapproachable" in Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow"note 

A Music Trope (or, in some cases, a Poetry Trope). It's when you hear a rhyme in a song, or read it in a poem, and you're compelled to cringe at how painfully it's forced in. Maybe the sentence was rearranged into grammatical nonsense to accommodate it, or the rhythm was broken, or maybe it verges on nonsensical. Maybe words had to be intentionally mispronounced to make it rhyme, or an unlikely metaphor invented. In any case, they were really better off not bothering to make it rhyme. Bonus points if it doesn't even quite rhyme, or if they're just repeating rather than rhyming. It's common for amateur poets to do this, since they often rigidly adhere to an "ABAB" rhyme scheme, forcing them to twist their verse into grotesque contortions. It doesn't seem to occur to them that there may be other rhyme schemes or that poems don't have to rhyme at all.

This is at least partially the fault of the English language itself, as it's generally harder to find rhymes in it than other languages. Also, sometimes the difference between accents may make a rhyme painful in America that isn't in Britain or Australia, and vice versa.

Here is a list of technical names for rhymes that may cause this trope (They're all legitimate, mind you.):

  • oblique: a rhyme with an imperfect match in sound. (one/thumb)
  • assonance: matching vowels. (shake/hate)
  • consonance: matching consonants. (rabies/robbers)
  • half rhyme: matching final consonants. (bent/ant, orange/porridge)
  • eye rhyme: words that look like they should rhyme perfectly, but don't (done/bone/gone, sword/word, touch/vouch). Sometimes these are paired directly in phrases like "good food" and "Sean Bean".
  • identity: rhyming a sound with itself or a homophone. (foul/fowl, grace/disgrace)

A common source of Painful Rhymes is the Stock Rhyme, such as girl/world, which is painful primarily because it's overused. An extreme case is the Mid Word Rhyme. Often a form of Lyrical Shoehorn. For the acronym version, see Shoehorned Acronym. May happen during an Awkward Poetry Reading.

Sublime Rhyme is an index of tropes with rhyming names and not the opposite of this trope, so don't get confused.

In-Universe Examples Only

    open/close all folders 

  • Lampshaded at the end of a Best Buy Holiday 2013 commercial, where "triumph" is "rhymed" with "pie-umph."
    Narrator: Pie-umph? *thinks for a moment then shrugs*

    Comic Books 
  • Lampshaded in Fables: Frau Totenkinder's spell/Takes a normal message and turns it into doggerel.
  • In the Animaniacs parody of Evita, "Brainita", Pinky and the Brain note it twice:
    Brain: If I say it's low-fat\no one will care if it's ghast... -ly
    Pinky: Oooh, that last rhyme really reeked, Brain.
    Brain: Work with me, Pinky.

    Two-tone: Don't worry your pretty little ankles\about the people. Let them eat cake-les.
    Brain: That rhymer Two-tone is a fake-le! "Ankles" doesn't rhyme with "cake-les"!
    Pinky: But gee Brain, it does sound yummy - just like frosted flake-les!
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW):
    • Rough and Tumble like to try and introduce themselves with a rhyming catchphrase, but often they'll flub it. If Tails is around, he'll usually critique their attempt. One short story has the two split up when they start criticizing each other.
    • The Tails 30th anniversary special has Classic Tails do much the same with the Witchcarter when she insists on speaking in rhyme every single sentence.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Halloweentown invokes this when Marnie tries to magically open the gate to her Grandma Aggie's house:
    Marnie: Big iron lock that keeps us out, open up your big iron mouth!
    Dylan: You call that a spell? "Out" and "mouth" don't even rhyme!
  • Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (2018): The song "My Year" plays with this during Eliza's introduction.
    Zed: Now, let me introduce you to my friend Eliza!
    Eliza: We'll never be accepted, zombies need to rise up!
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Mr Beaver recites the prophecy "When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone sits at Cair Paravel in throne, the evil times will be over and done". Susan points out that that doesn't really rhyme, which Mr Beaver concedes but says she's missing the point. (The poem was present in the original book, but as an eye rhyme it works better in print.)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The Knights of the Round Table's song. After previously rhyming impecc-able with table and able:
    ''We're Knights of the Round Table,
    Our shows are formid-able,
    But many times we're given rhymes
    That are quite unsing-able.
  • The Wizard of Oz: the brilliant Yip Harburg makes this part of the film's whimsical style, via Refuge in Audacity. The Cowardly Lion in particular carries many of them. From "If I Only Had The Nerve":
    I could demonstrate my prowess,
    Be a lion, not a
    mow-ess (i.e. "mouse").
  • In Zero Effect, Zero stumbles upon a poem written by his client when he went to college, rhyming "Towards" with "Birds", which makes him rather angry.
  • In The Sunshine Boys, Willie Clark is reading Variety while his nephew visits, when he comes across an item about a songwriter who died.
    Willie: Know what kind of songs he wrote? Shit. Lady, lady, be my baby? "Lady" he rhymes with "baby". No wonder he's dead.
  • Lampshaded for a laugh in Saving Mr. Banks. P.L. Travers is doing a script read of Walt Disney's adaptation of her books, and the Sherman Brothers are performing the music they've written for the movie. She listens to them sing a line from the opening number of the film—"Constable's responstable"—and stops the song, insisting that "responstable" isn't a word. The brothers explain that they've made it up, and she sternly tells them to "un-make it up." Richard Sherman then sheepishly hides another piece of music with the word "Supercalifraglis..."on top.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
    Eddie Valiant: I'm through with taking falls
    And bouncing off the walls
    Without that gun, I'd have some fun
    I'd kick you in the... (gets clobbered by a bottle)
    Roger Rabbit: Nose!
    Smart Ass: Nose? That don't rhyme with walls!
    Eddie Valiant: (having recovered and gotten up) No, but this does! (demonstrates the word in question)
  • Cinderella (1997) (starring Brandy and Whitney Houston) both featured and lampshaded this trope. When the Fairy Godmother (Houston) first appears, she sings in rhyme, and recites, "Fol-de-rol and fiddle-dee-dee, fiddley-faddley-foodle / All the dreamers in the world are...dizzy in the noodle!" Cinderella (Brandy) replies "That's horrible." The Fairy Godmother, thinking she's talking about the rhyming, defends herself, saying that it's difficult to come up with a spur-of-the-moment couplet. Cinderella was actually referring to the sentiment.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, during Matthew Patel's inexplicable villain song as he fights Scott, he includes the lyric "Fireball, girls! Take this sucker down! / Let us show him what we're all about!", to which Scott quips to himself "That doesn't even rhyme!"

  • In Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, Lir's love poetry to "Amalthea" uses this as a form of Stylistic Suck (since his poetry is supposed to be terrible):
    "It's certainly heartfelt", she said. "Can you really rhyme 'bloomed' with 'ruined?'"
  • Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger has at least four Stylistic Suck examples as Mrs. Jewels asks the kids to write poems about colors. These probably stand out the most:
    "Yellow" by Kathy
    I really don't feel well, oh.
    I don't know who to tell, oh.
    I'm sick and I smell, oh.
    My barf is yellow.

    "Red" by Joe
    The fire truck is red!
    It hurried!
    The siren wailed!
    The building burned!
    The firemen saved
    the baby who screamed.
  • A passage from the English translation of Tove Jansson's Comet in Moominland:
    Then Snufkin said: "You could write a poem about this. What about:
    Floating on this eerie water
    Far away from bricks and mortar."
    "Saw a mermaid— didn't caught her", suggested Sniff, blowing his nose.
    "That's not true, not grammar, and it doesn't even rhyme properly", said Snufkin, and the subject dropped.
  • In the P. G. Wodehouse book Uncle Fred in the Springtime the Duke of Dunstable has a particular hatred for the song The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond because it attempts to rhyme "afore ye" with "Lomond" and he plans to toss eggs at the gardener who keeps whistling it under his window.
  • Lampshaded in the Illuminatus!-trilogy when it is revealed that dolphins are masterful poets; unfortunately as advanced as Hagbard Celine's supercomputer FUCKUP is, the best it can manage in translating their language belongs to this trope.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Strange's attempt to become a poet was derailed when, while writing his first poem, he failed to find an appropriate rhyme for "let love suffice"; coming up with "sunk in vice", "what's the price?", and "a pair of mice" he went for a ride to clear his head, then never looked at the poem again.
  • In The Name of the Wind, the main character mocks someone by pointing out how godawful it is. Many times. With FEELING.
  • Protagonist Stile intentionally used assonance in his fight with the White Adept in Blue Adept. Stile swapped out words in his spells ("Form a pyre/burn like fir") so that the spells would immediately fizzle out, roving what he could do to White if he really wanted to. Subverted in that full Adepts can't hurt each other, one-on-one (he didn't know this until White told him), so the full spells may have done less damage.
  • In Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs, Dave specifically calls out "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers:
    Oh where oh where can my baby be
    The Lord took her away from me
    She's gone to heaven so I got to be good
    So I can see my baby when I leave this world
Dave also says that "if I were the Supreme Being, I would have a rule that you could not get into heaven if you had ever deliberately rhymed 'good' with 'world'."
  • The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce sarcastically defines "kiss" as "a word invented by the poets as a rhyme for 'bliss.'"
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Fallen Heroes features an alien race, the Lonat, who talk entirely in epic brilliant poetry ... which the Universal Translator converts into doggerel in order to retain the meaning. And for some reason, the more anxious they get, the worse the doggerel becomes.
    "Square Deal" Djonreal: You confuse me with Ferengi tricks, the ... bottom price is sixty-sixty.
  • Of course discussed in the German language-game children book "Die dampfenden Hälse der Pferde im Turm von Babel" by Franz Fühmann. In a kids game round: "There is no rhyme on 'Mensch'! That's scientifically proven!" Note since this was Socialist Germany, one could see this as a subtle jab against appeal to authority, and promptly one of the protagonists rhymes it on "Ranch". Cue a hail of nonsense follow-ups with this trope, and slight bodily harm, making it a literarily Painful Rhyme.
  • In The Wolf Den, Cornelius' hymn to Flora is assumed to be parody due to its painful and tacky rhymes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for Laughs in a sketch of The Amanda Show featuring a class of teens with superpowers. Josh Peck's character, Billy, has the gift of "super-rhyming"—"Yeah! I do it all the" As he's compelled to make a couplet out of whatever someone last said, the results are, well...
    Miss DeBoat: Why are you all snickering?
    Billy: At least we're not bickering!
    Lisa: You're giving us a pop quiz?!
    Billy: If you spill a soda, you have to...mop...fizz.
    Lisa: Reggie's a super-burper.
    Billy: When I kiss a girl, I slurp 'er!
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie:
    • Played for humor as the entire basis of Hugh Laurie's "Mystery":
      I live in a houseboat on an estuary
      Which is handy for my work with the Thames Water Authority
      But I know you would have found it insanitary
    • "I'm in love with Steffi Graf" has this:
      When she hits that topspin second serve,
      I think I know the meaning now of lurve.
  • Conversational Troping - In the Doctor Who story "The Macra Terror", the Doctor - being dragged off to do forced labour in a Crapsaccharine World mining gang - feels this way about a musical announcement that rhymes 'Colony' with 'work':
    Dreadful. Did you hear that rhyme? The man who wrote that ought to be sent to the Danger Gang, not us.

  • Better Call Saul: Jimmy sings the "99 Bottles of Beer" song but about cash money. He sings "take one dollar, pass it a..." before realizing there is no suitable word that rhymes with 'dollar'. After pausing for a bit, he finishes with "yollar".
  • The Golden Girls:
    • In the episode "Big Daddy's Little Lady" has a number of examples of this in the "B" plot, which is about Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) writing a song about Miami for a songwriting competition. Their first attempt turns out like this:
      Dorothy: [singing] Miami is nice/So I'll say it twice/Miami is nice/Miami is nice/Miami is- [stops singing] Wait a minute, wait a minute. You put in an extra "Miami is nice."
      Rose: I had to. It hurts the music if you don't put it in.
      Dorothy: But the lyrics don't make any sense! I mean, it goes, "Miami is nice/So I'll say it TWICE."
      Rose: Oh, I see your point. Well, what about this? "Miami is nice/So I'll say it thrice."
      Dorothy: "Thrice"?! Who the hell says "thrice"?!
      Rose: It's a word!
      Dorothy: So is "interuterine"! It does not belong in a song.
      Rose: [singing] Miami, you're cuter than/An interuterine!
    • In their second attempt, they change "Miami" to "Miami Beach" because of the difficulty of finding a word to rhyme with "Miami," but Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan) notices the addition right away and points it out.
      Rose: I told you not to add "Beach"!
      Dorothy: Fine, fine! YOU find something to rhyme with "Miami," hotshot!
      Rose: Mammy, whammy, clammy, Alabammy, hootenanny, salami...
      Dorothy: "Hootenanny" is marginal, and I refuse to accept "salami"!
    • Earlier in the episode, Rose sings her high school's fight song to Dorothy as an example of her songwriting talents: "Onward St. Olaf, onward we go, onward and onward St. Olaf's go! Go go go, go go go..." This comes up again at the tail end of the second argument when Rose complains, "I never had this trouble when I was working alone," and Dorothy retorts, "When you worked alone, the only word you could rhyme with 'go' was 'go.'"
  • Very much Played for Laughs on an episode of I Love Lucy where, due to financial constraints, Lucy ends up writing an operetta all by herself. There are plenty of other problems such as unnecessary detail about minor characters (that bloat the runtime) and songs that only have one or so lines of repetitive lyrics ("We like to drink, drink, drink ..."), but all other songs fall victim to this, with gems such as "when other girls go walking, on their arms they have a swell beau/but whenever I go walking, on my arm is just my elbow" and "I know a girl's supposed to wait for a prince to come and get her/the only prince I ever met is a neighbor's Irish Setter." Ricky also questions who wrote the script when his character Lancelot rhymes his name with "dance a lot."
  • Also Played for Laughs in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia when Charlie and Dee, having bonded over their love of "def poetry", attempt to recreate a "def poetry slam" for an aggravated Dennis.
    Dee: Speaks like Zeus...
    Charlie: Smells like poops...
    Dee: Rage all over from his head down to his shoe-s.
    Dennis: Zeus, poops, and shoes? Guys, you suck at def poetry.
  • A Jimmy Kimmel Live! segment had the Avengers: Endgame cast reading a children's poem that summarized Avengers: Infinity War. When the poem tried rhyming "Groot" and "soot":
    Don Cheadle: Bucky and Scarlet Witch, Falcon and Groot
    Suddenly began to turn into soot.

    Scarlett Johansson: "Groot." "Soot."
    Cheadle: You can't find something that rhymes with "to turn into soot"? "To turn into..." I... I know it's soot, but his name isn't "Groot," so I wouldn't say to "Groot" and "soot." [bleep]
    Chris Evans: I mean, are we rhyming "Groot" and "soot"? [shakes head]
  • In series 6 of Knightmare, Treguard's closing verse in series 6 required him to rhyme 'foul' with 'hour' every week. Earlier series also had a Previously on… delivered in verse, which usually had at least one painful forced rhyme. Lampshaded in one recap:
    They perished, all: though what a pity
    It does help rhyme this awful ditty.
  • Intentionally in the closing credits of Murder Most Horrid: "And you wake in the night, wipe the sweat from your forrid/Murder most horrid". The final season included variants, some of which were smoother ("And you wake in the night, your face flushed and florid") and some of which were worse ("And you wake in the night, wearing something you've borrid").
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
    • In "The Girl in Lover's Lane", Joel pronounces "magazines" to rhyme with "Circle Pines" during his verse of "The Train Song".
    • Lampshaded in the "Werewolf" episode, during the song "Where Oh Werewolf":
      Mike: My mother and pop, they disapprove
      But no one can stop us, 'cause it's true loove.
      Bots: Huh? "Loove"?
      Mike: Well, I had to rhyme the two words.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Played for laughs with Rimmer's Villain Song (each chorus line ends with 'Rimmer' or something which rhymes). The deleted final verse discusses how they've almost run out of rhymes to use.
    • In another episode Lister says the problem with writing a love song to Kochanski is that there aren't many words that rhyme with her name. And he's already used "underpantski" twice.
  • Star Trek featured a Halloween Episode in which a triad of witches recited a prophecy of doom to Captain Kirk. When asked to comment on this development, Spock correctly pointed out that it was "very bad poetry."
  • Sister, Sister: Played for laughs in the Season 4 episode “Sis-Boom-Bah”, with both rhyming mishaps being delivered by Lisa:
    • The first occurs when Lisa improvises a slogan to promote the sale of popcorn at her mall cart to bring in customers (a gimmick that later backfires when she spills hot oil over the popcorn machine, setting her cart ablaze):
    Lisa: “Fashions by Lisa/Free snacks to please-a. I gotta work on that.”
    • Later in the episode, Lisa improvises a cheer while trying to advise Tia and Tamera, whose “twin gimmick” fails to make up for the girls’ lack of coordination when they audition for Roosevelt High’s cheerleading squad and end up on the school’s “C-Squad”note  instead:
    Lisa: “Tamera and Tia/We’re really glad to see ya/If you give us a second chance/You’ll have money in your… pants.” (gives look of realization how her cheer came out)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has Lore point out that Noonien Soong's nickname, Often Wrong, is meant to rhyme, but 'Soong' and 'Wrong' really don't.
  • On Survivor, the rhyming "tree-mails" announcing challenges are always chock full of forced rhymes and awful meter. You'd think after twenty seasons, the mail-writers would get pretty good at it, but apparently not.
  • Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak often criticizes the show's "Rhyme Time" category for this when it leads to bizarre puzzles such as BEES FLEAS AND MANATEES, often citing them as being worse than made-up examples of his such as DOGS FROGS AND WARTHOGS.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
    • During a "Greatest Hits" game about doctors, Chip's attempt to fit a rhyme by cramming it in with a lengthy, rhythm-shattering sentence is so bad it causes Wayne to completely lose it:
      Your headache's as big as the nation,
      That's why I'm writing this prescription.
      And I am just gonna give you these pills
      So you won't have a predilection to take another one!
    • Wayne's Let's Make A Date competitor who was also a politician running for office and his love poem/campaign speech:
      A woman like you is so first-rate
      That's how I acquaint you to this beautiful state
      I'd love to run my hands through your rich, lush foliage
      And to be your man, it would be my priv-o-ledge.
    • This trope is taken to the logical extreme in this clip when Drew cannot think of a line quickly and splutters something out for Ryan to deal with later.
    • At one point, Colin has to come up with a rhyme for "fire extinguisher". His response? "Ding-a ding-a dingisher!"
    • In one game Brad sings a song about a girl called "Niroshi". His attempts to rhyme with her name include "suntan loshi", "pacific oshi" and "we're so closey".

  • Dave Barry, in a column which would lead to a massive amount of hate mail from Neil Diamond fans and provide the seed for the famous Bad Songs Survey via readers who agreed with him, complained about the lameness of this line:
    Is Neil telling us he's surprised that the chair didn't hear him? Maybe he expected the chair to say, "Whoa, I heard THAT." My guess is that Neil was really desperate to come up with something to rhyme with "there", and he had already rejected "So I ate a pear", "Like Smokey the Bear", and "There were nits in my hair."
  • According to Martin Pearson, Neil Diamond's "Play Me" contains the worst rhyme in the history of modern music:
    The line comes later in the song; it goes "Songs she sang to me, songs she BRANG to me.'" Ugh! It's "brought", you horrible little American!
  • Word of God says LFO's "Summer Girls" was a joke song, not meant for public consumption, written to help the late singer Rich Cronin get over his disappointment with the music industry and think about his youth, and filled with inside humor. He said that if he knew it would be a commercial single, then the "Chinese food always makes me sick" part would not have been used.
    Fell deep in love, but now we ain't speakin'
    Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton.
  • Mitch Benn:
    • One of the satirical songs on The Now Show mocks the then-Poet Laureate Andrew Motion for claiming that nothing rhymes with "Wilkinson". As with the Lehrer examples, outrageous forced rhymes are used for comic effect:
      Andrew Motion's changed his mind
      He's far too busy milkin' son-
      orous words and syllables to find
      A rhyme for Jonny Wilkinson.
    • Another one from the first series of Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music:
      Everybody knows ain't nothing rhymes with orange,
      Doesn't matter how much imagination or inj-
      -inuity you use even words thar are foreign, j-
      -ust let it go, ain't nothing rhymes with orange.
  • Lampshaded in Wu Tang Clan's "Shame On A Nigga":
    ...I'm better
    Than my compedah
    You mean competitor?
  • Dethklok does this intentionally on "Birthday Dethday":
    Now you're old and full of hatred
    Take a pill to MASTURBATRED
    Children point at you and scream
  • "Fennario", a folk song about an army captain who falls "in love with a lady like a dove" sticks "-o" at the end of lines to make them scan right. Lampshaded by Bob Dylan in his recording of the song.
    I've been around this whole country, but I never yet found "Fennario".
  • Some of Adam Sandler's songs boil down to a succession of painful rhymes intentionally invoked for humor. A good example is "The Thanksgiving Song": In most of its couplets the first line is about Thanksgiving, but the second is usually a silly non sequitir that happens to rhyme.
    Turkey for me, turkey for you
    Let's eat the turkey in my big brown shoe
    Love to eat turkey all night long
    Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong
    (later) Thanksgiving is a special night
    Jimmie Walker used to say "Dy-no-mite!"
    That's right!
  • "Elenore" by The Turtles is deliberately written in this style; it's all part of the joke.
  • Lampshaded in Ane Brun's "Where Friend Rhymes With End"
    My friend, you left me in the end
    ... I can't believe I'm writing a song where "friend" rhymes with "end"
  • Played for Laughs in "Stonehenge" by Ylvis:
    How did they raise the stones so high
    Completely without THE technolo-gye
    We have to-dye?
  • Lampshaded in Alice Cooper's School's Out.
    Well, we got no class
    And we got no principals
    And we got no innocence
    We can't even think of a word that rhymes!
  • Done intentionally and lampshaded twice by John Gorka in "Wisheries":
    Though I may not seem glamorous,
    I have often been amorous,
    Though I am an ignnoranamous.
    Ignoranamous, that's the word.

    Through a window, she kissed my face,
    She pushed me down, put me in my place,
    The French would call that the coop de grace.
    No, that's not my native tongue.
  • Zladko "ZLAD!" Vladcik in "I Am the Anti-Pope" does unholy things to the English language to get "unanimous" and "instantaneous" to rhyme. Honorable mentions also go to "Jesus Christ" being matched with "cheeses sliced", and "crucifixed" with "six-six-sixth". This is all part of the song's very deliberate Stylistic Suck.
  • While Tom Lehrer makes a habit of painful rhymes in his in his songs, in "The Folk Song Army" on That Was the Year That Was he actually lampshades it and offers an (insincere) apology:
    The tune don't have to be clever,
    And it don't matter if you put a couple extra syllables into a line.
    It sounds more ethnic if it ain't good English
    And it don't even gotta rhyme... excuse me: rhyne!
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic: Lampshaded in "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long", a parody of George Harrison's rendition of "Got My Mind Set on You":
    ...I know if I put my mind to it
    I know I can find a good rhyme here
    Oh, you gotta have a music
    You need really catchy music...
  • Rodgers and Hart's "Manhattan" rhymes "spoil" with "girl" by mispronouncing the latter as "goil."
  • Tocotronic have a true masterpiece on "Gesang des Tyrannen":
    Ich bin Graf von Monte Schizo
    und ich singe diesen Hit so
  • A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie has a stanza in his hit "Look Back At It" in which he pronounces "chain" as "cheen" in order to rhyme "cheen" with "rings". He then goes on to "rhyme" them both with "me".
    Let me tell you something 'bout my life, And every single cheen, And my diamond rings, The way you walkin', the way you talkin' it's all because of me
  • "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry attempts to rhyme "dollar" with "goner":
    A penny for my thoughts
    Oh no, I'll sell them for a dollar
    They're worth so much more after I'm a goner
  • Eminem loves using this as part of his humorous style. Here's an example from "Kill You":
    Know why I say these things?
    'Cause ladies' screams keep creepin' in Shady's dreams.
    The way things seem, I shouldn't have to pay these shrinks
    these 80Gs a week to say the same things tweece -
    - twice, whatever, I hate these things
  • Tyler, the Creator's "Lone" rhymes "week" with "strength" by mispronouncing the latter as "streath".

  • Ogden Nash objected to the poetic pronunciation of "wind" as "wined."
  • In his satirical epic poem Don Juan, Lord Byron often used rhymes for comedic effect, sometimes with Lampshade Hanging. At the start of the poem, he also took a swipe at his personal enemy, Robert Southey, who was the current Poet Laureate, by rhyming "Laureate" with "Iscariot". That one was so bad, he even expressed doubts about it in a footnote.
  • Shel Silverstein's poem Pinocchio does this intentionally with nearly every rhyme in it, by constantly appending "-io" to the ends of words. Such as:
    Pinocchio, Pinocchio,
    That little wooden bloke-io,
    His nose, it grew an inch or two,
    With every lie he spoke-io.
  • Laura Elizabeth Richards also did this intentionally in several comic poems.
    • "Antonio":
    Antonio, Antonio
    Was tired of living alonio.
    He thought he would woo
    Miss Lissamy Lu,
    Miss Lissamy Lucy Molonio.
    • "Eletelephony":
    Once there was an elephant,
    Who tried to use the telephant-
    No! No! I mean an elephone
    Who tried to use the telephone-

  • Lampshaded in Educating Rita. Frank gives an example of assonance, with Yates rhyming "swan" with "stone".
    Rita: It means getting the rhyme wrong.
  • Lampshaded in "Camelot Song (Knights of the Round Table)" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and its theatrical version Spamalot:
    We're Knights of the Round Table
    Our shows are for-mi-dable
    But many times
    We're given rhymes
    That are quite un-sing-able.
  • In the song "Shall I Tell You What I Think Of You?" from The King and I, Anna mispronounces "employee" to rhyme with "pay" and "libertine" to rhyme with "concubine"... and then corrects herself.
  • Used intentionally in Heathers, while faking a suicide note.
    J.D.: Just make it sound deep, like this. I had pain in my path... Sylvia Plath... my problems were myriad
    Veronica: *imitating Heather* I was having my period.
    Veronica: Hahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ahahahahaha. Haha. Ha. Heh.
    Veronica: *glances down at Heather's dead body* OH MY GOD!
  • The Phantom of the Opera features this dialogue. Also comes with a case of Rhyming with Itself:
    Raoul: Isn't this the letter you wrote?
    Firmin: And what is it that we're meant to have wrote? *Beat* Written!
  • Orlando’s Stylistic Suck poetry for Rosalind in As You Like It. His rhymes with Rosalind's name alternately demand that the last syllable be pronounced with a long and a short "i." Touchstone declares that he could come up with rhymes of the same caliber for "eight years" if necessary and proceeds to provide examples off the top of his head until Rosalind shuts him up.

    Video Games 
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush purposely derails an overly-long-song by pitching the word orange into the rhymes. The singers are unable to come up with anything fitting besides "door-hinge".
  • Fallen London uses the concept for humor in the flavor text which indicates progress in writing a commissioned poem. It's an epic - four hundred stanzas. And it's about mushrooms. "The work advances. Are you actually going to rhyme 'mushroom' with 'room'? I mean actually?"
  • Night in the Woods: One of Fisherman Joe's poems has him awkwardly try to rhyme "storm" and "home". Mae mocks this by drawing a picture in her journal of a fish with a hat and briefcase saying "Honey, I'm horm."
  • In-universe; in Violet, if the protagonist tries to work to MC Dingo's music, they're distracted by his rhymes of 'casino'/'albino' and 'zebra'/'Deborah'.

    Web Animation 
Narrator: The workings can be heard of the animated people. And, I dunno apple.
  • Zero Punctuation:
    • Yahtzee decided that the reboot of Wolfenstein was such a boring game any normal review of it would also be boring, and so performed most of his review of the game in limerick form. Since it's played for laughs, the ridiculous rhymes come off as more hilarious than painful.
      "I know what you're gonna say: "Yahtzee!
      You sleek internet paparazzi!
      Surely it's always fun
      To stick the butt of a gun
      Up the arse of a goose-stepping Nazi!"
    • He lays into Child of Light for using this too often, as it completely disrupted any immersion he may have otherwise had.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • On Strong Bad Sings and Other Type Hits, Strong Bad comments on this during Marzipan's song "Sensitive to Bees", where she rhymes "fruit" with "cute". Then "cute", "cute", and "cute".
      Strong Bad: Oh, "fruit" and "cute". Good rhyme!
      Strong Bad: Oh, cute, CUTE and cute. You're like the poet laureate of...
    • Many of Coach Z's attempts at freestyling wind up this way, some just because he's a poor rapper (example: "Coach Z" with "mostly"), but others due to his strange accent (for example, he refers to The Cheat as "The Chort", which he has rhymed with "sport" and "cohort" on different occasions. Or, at one point, he rhymes "that" with "abrat" - meaning "about".)
  • Ultra Fast Pony. Spike writes a poem with an abundance of rhyming with “who”, then he forces “here we go” into this rhyme scheme by pronouncing it “here we goo”. He cringes slightly as he reads this part aloud.
  • In Mondo's video "Back of the Line," we have Tim Cook trying to rap at the beginning, even though everyone wants the ghost of Steve Jobs to do it (who later shows up after this epic fail).
    Tim Cook: Hey there Apple fans, it's your main man, Cook
    Uh, saying rhymes, on... on time... uh... oh ho, books.
  • ''I'm your best friend'' - a song from the Red vs. Blue soundtrack - is an inversion of this trope if there ever was one. It contains barely any rhymes, even when there is an obvious way to introduce them. Instead of "friend - end" or "game - same" you get "friend - the part when it's over" and "game - the identical way". It's obviously Played for Laughs and perfectly fits a certain character in the show.

  • In this Dinosaur Comics, T-Rex tries to rap but his rhymes turn out painfully terrible.
  • Elan's song in this Order of the Stick strip is hilariously bad, even more so than usual. The worst rhymes are untilled/killed, wooden/pudding, and grass'n/assassin. It's lampshaded in the title, "You Try Rhyming 'Assassin'"
  • "Super Stupor", a side feature of Randy Milholland's Something*Positive, had a brief appearance by a bottom-rung villain named Crimer Rhymer, who normally spoke in very forced rhymes. ("I don't know what you mean / My record from errors is clean.")
  • Least I Could Do: Rayne often does "beat" poetry at the local coffeehouse. Also, this strip.
  • During a Keiki story in which the title character is officially proclaimed the smartest person in Hawaiʻi, Beefer challenges her to come up with a rhyme for "orange." She answers, "The rock guy screamed, 'more grunge!' as he ate an or-ange."
  • There was once a man from a ruggery. He engaged in consensual heterosexual sex that was well within the confines of acceptable marital bedroom conduct... ery.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Chick:
    • Her review of He-Man & She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword started with her critiquing the opening theme.
      Singer: Somewhere out there someone needs me / I don't know how or where but believe me
      Chick: That doesn't rhyme.
      Singer: I walk the universe to find her / For better or for worse beside her
      Chick: No.
      Singer: A stranger walked into my world / And when he talked I really heard
      Chick: ...?
    • At the end of The Nostalgia Chick's video about The Worst Witch film Doug Walker sings a song which is full of nonsensical forced rhymes with "Halloween", mirroring Tim Curry's musical number in the film.
      My favorite Ben & Jerry's is Cookies and Cream
      If I had another name it'd probably be Dean
  • The Nostalgia Critic once berated a commercial for the Wuzzles which has a girl mispronounce "kangaroo" as "kanga-ree" just so it'll rhyme with the previous line. Critic complains that "roo" has to be one of the easiest words to rhyme, and to prove it, he sings, "I got a Wuzzle/I'm gonna snuggle/So much he can do..." After that, he lampshades this...
    "I got a Wuzzle
    "I'm gonna snuggle
    "We don't care about rhyming
    "Buy our shit!"
  • In one of Smosh Games' Game Bang episodes, Joven and Sohinki must face each other in a rap battle after getting the worst scores in the Def Jam Rap Stars. In the second round, Joven tries to rhyme "Army" with "Barbies", which is a borderline non-sequitur that flows poorly with his previous lines, but doesn't even rhyme that well.
    Ian: "I don't know how that made sense."
  • Todd in the Shadows had the Running Gag "Not a Rhyme" to denote those. And for a song-specific case, he said that the first verse of Flo Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me" features "the worst succession of non-rhymes I've heard since the second verse of Steve Miller's 'Take the Money and Run'":
    Hey, I own the light and I don't need no help
    Gotta be the feeling that Scarface player
    Stuntin' go wild can't handle this plan
    Life of the club arrogant like yeah!
  • Oxventure: At one point the egotistical idiot Corazón de Ballena writes a Bragging Theme Tune about himself, which includes an attempt to make the word "horizon" rhyme with his first name.
    Corazón, oh Corazón
    Look to the horizón
    There you will see
    His ship on the sea
  • In the Unraveled panel on "The Perfect Pokérap, Brian criticizes how the original Pokérap from Pokémon: The Series'' rhymed "Horsea" with "Weepinbel," calling it "a slant rhyme so terrible even Emily Dickinson would vomit."
  • In the second episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, the singing teacher of the day (Tony the Talking Clock, who tries to teach the characters about time) is pretty lousy at rhyming, eventually resorting to rambling repeatedly about time. As the series goes on, successive teachers begin to become steadily worse and worse, foreshadowing the fact that the reality-manipulating machine generating them isn't working optimally.
    "Let's go on a journey / a journey through all time / a time that's changing all the time / it's time to go to TI-ME!!"

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs.
    • A song in "King Yakko":
    Yakko: In dear old Anvilania, everyone's our friend!
    Dot: We want to meet you all!
    Wakko: And shake you by the hend! [the other two glare at him] Hend! Hend! It rhymes!
    • In the "mix up the scripts" episode, the Warners have trouble finding a relevant rhyme for "brain"...
    They're Mindy and The Brain
    They're Mindy and The Brain
    One's a small child
    The other's...
    (long pause)
    The Brain!
  • Arthur: In "Whip. Mix. Blend.", the Tough Customers protest a chicken restaurant, with the slogan "Sticky Chicken makes you sicken!" Rattles is in disbelief.
    Rattles: That's the best you could do? It's not even grammatically correct!
  • This poem written by Sokka of Avatar: The Last Airbender: "My name is Sokka/ It's pronounced with an "-okka"/ Young ladies, I rock ya!" He gets thrown out of the poetry club—not because of the bad rhyming, but because it's meant to be a haiku.
  • The infamous Dexter's Laboratory Christmas Episode "Dexter vs. Santa's Claws" had Dexter perform a rap number on how their dad dresses up as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve to give the kids their presents, and being not such a great rapper he comes up with some fairly lousy attempts at rhyming lyrics...
    Dad dresses up in a Santa getup,
    And puts the car up on the rooftop
    He makes the car look like a sleigh, here,
    And mom dresses up just like a reindeer
    She greases up Dad so he'll slide down the chimney
    And put all our presents around the tree
    Then Mom pulls him up, and by and by,
    They drive down the roof and into the sky!
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy when Eddy recites a slogan for their home repair business.
    Eddy: No joke when it's broke - don't be blue, Let Ed's Quick Repair Service fix it and you won't sue!
  • From the Musical Episode of The Emperor's New School:
    Kuzco: So please now, Malina
    Won't you be my queen-a?
    Malina: What?
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In "So Totally Spaced Out", when the Gigglepies' Mind Manipulation on Cosmo and Wanda begins to falter, their ability to rhyme is affected and one of them attempts to rhyme "ridiculous" with "trick-ulous", causing Wanda to come to her senses.
    • In "Baby Face", Peppy Happy Betty finishes a string of forced rhymes with a very painful "distracted...-wackted!" She lampshades this with "I'm running out of rhymey-whymies."
  • An episode of Fillmore! has a character called Checkmatey who tries to rap every other sentence and creates some truly terrible rhymes in the process. Fillmore eventually gets tired of Checkmatey's grating personality and bad rapping, and as he calls out Checkmatey:
    Fillmore: You just rhymed "bomb" with "wisdom"!
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In one episode, Bloo tries to mock Uncle Pockets' constant rhyming, but ends up rhyming "around" with itself, as pointed out by an unimpressed Mac.
  • The Futurama episode "Fry and the Slurm Factory" parodies many aspects of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, including the way the Oompa-Loompas rely on nonsensical lyrics to create rhymes:
    Grunka-Lunkas: Grunka-lunka dunkity-dingredient, you should not ask about the secret ingredient!
    Leela: I was just curious because of the armed guards.
    Grunka-Lunkas: Grunka-lunka dunkity-darmed guards...
    Bender: SHUT THE HELL UP!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Intentionally invoked in the episode "The Show Stoppers." Scootaloo attempts to write a song for the upcoming talent show, but is only able to come up with lyrics like:
    "With our cutie marks, we'll rock Equestria
    We use our stomachs to digestia."
  • Parodied in The Penguins of Madagascar, when an evil device forces everyone to sing. As The Unintelligible, Rico's "lyrics" are all unintelligible grunts that end in a sound that rhymes.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • The "Come Home Perry" song from the episode "Oh, There You Are, Perry" has deliberately cringe-worthy rhymes when Candace has trouble coming up with rhymes for "Perry":
      Oh Perry! I think it's kind of scary
      I can't find you anywhere-y
      It fills me with despair-y
      Oh, Perry! I'm allergic to dairy,
      I'm gonna move to the prairie,
      And change my name to Larry!
      Phineas: Larry?!
      Candace: I ran out of rhymes, alright?
    • Lampshaded in the "Frenemies" song from "Lotsa Latkes", which rhymes "spats" with "ats".
      Baljeet: You are pluralising "at"?
      Buford: Work with me, brain-boy!
    • In the song "There's a Platypus Controlling Me," a kid randomly mentions that his teacher is a panda. When asked about the meaning of this line, creator Dan Povenmire responded, "It means we were looking for a rhyme for 'propaganda'."
  • The VeggieTales video King George and the Ducky has King George sing a rant that rhymes "longer," "stronger," and "wronger." King George's page tries to remind him to say "more wrong," instead. The king insists, "It had to rhyme! Don't question a king's grammar!"
  • Danger Mouse reads a scroll with instructions on how to utilize the Mystic Inkwell of Merlin ("Where There's a Well, There's a Way") when he comes across a painful rhyme that Penfold lampshades:
    DM: (reading) "Cast ye into the well a copper coin,
    And whatever ye may wish is thoin."
    Penfold: (incredulously) "Thoin"??!
    DM: "Thoin," Penfold. That's what it says.
    Penfold: What a terrible rhyme! "Thoin"! Hee hee hee!
    DM: (reading) "And finally...just one more crack from little fatty
    And he'll wish he was in Cincinnati!"
  • The debut episode of Freakazoid! features an alternate theme to that of Animaniacs. When it gets to the final verse:
    It's totally freaky,
    Dexter's geeky,
    The plots are reek-y,
    We're up the creek-y,
    It's sprung a leak-y,
    Freakazoid and friends, now our song ends!
  • Only Popeye could get away with this in his ending song tag after gifting Olive with a pearl necklace:
    There's only one poil
    That's me goil Olive Oyl
    Sez Popeye the sailor man! (Toot toot)
  • The Simpsons: In "Mommie Beerest", Marge convinces Moe to renovate his bar through song. They come around to this idea of making it an old-timey British pub, and Moe likes the idea, but everyone wants him to agree in song. He starts, "My bar could be British, instead of arm-pittish, so why don't we all..." and then gives up.
  • The Spectacular Spiderman: Spidey's Inner Monologue from the Cold Opening to the episode "The Uncertainty Principle":
    Twas the night before Halloween
    And all through Manhattan
    Not a criminal was stirring
    Not even Green Gob...lan.
    Man-hatt-an. Gob-lan. They sorta rhyme.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Bad Rap" has all of its dialogue performed in rhyme. Unfortunately, the title ends up being indicative of the rapping quality, given that the rhymes often include Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable, bizarre pauses in the middle of lines to make the meter fit ("This Koopa dude' to go!"), and strange non-sequiturs for tough words ("Wait, Mario, you forgot your spaghetti!").

  • Monty Python's deliberately boring song "Traffic Lights" cuts off before finishing its last and worst rhyme:
    I like traffic lights,
    I like traffic lights,
    I like traffic lights,
    Although my name's not Bamber.
    I like traffic lights,
    I like traffic lights,
    I like traffic lights,
    But only when they're... (Oh, God.)


Video Example(s):


"Hey, that doesn't rhyme!"

Trying to rhyme "dismember" with "assemble", by shoehorning it as "dismemble"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PainfulRhyme

Media sources: