Rhyming Nonsense

A less common form of word reduplication occurs when the first syllable of a word or phrase is followed by a rhyming or repeating syllable, and a third rhyme, repetition, or other. A simple example is the phrase "slap happy". Here is a list of some words and phrases that use this pattern.

Syllable, Repeat1, Other:

        Ararat (the mountain where the Ark came to rest)
        assassin (a purposeful killer)
        Barbara (a first name)
        Hetch Hetchy (a glacial valley east of San Francisco)
        Hohokus (a town in New Jersey)
        jojobe (a small tree with oil-bearing seeds)
        jujube (a kind of jellied candy)
        kakapo (a flightless New Zealand parrot)
        ononis (a genus of European herbs related to clover)
        Qiqihar (a town in China)
        reredos (an ornamental screen)
        seseli (a genus of plants that includes the delightful moon carrot
          and stone parsley)
        Tartarus (the Greek afterworld)
        tatami (a Japanese mat)
        titivate (to dress up)

Syllable, Rhyme1, Other:

        ass gasket (the sphincter)
        ass master (an idiot or jerk)
        backracket (a sharp response or retort - originally a tennis term)
        Bar Harbor
   [to] bumflummox (to confound)

        cake taker (a carrying dish for a cake)
        cell yeller (a rude loud user of a cell phone in a public place)
        clamjamfry (a disorderly mob)
        clap happy (of religious services with lots of clapping 
          and sing-alongs)

        cold shoulder (a frosty reception)
        crab apple ([imperfect rhyme] - a tree with fruit similar 
          to small apples)

        crepe paper
        crust buster (a baby just learning to eat solid food)
        cuffuffle (kerfuffle, a mess)

        dust buster (a small portable vacuum cleaner)
        et cetera ([often pronounced "et-cet-ra"] and so on)
        fair-haired boy (a favorite; a teacher's pet)
        fandangle (any kind of fussy ornamentation)
        fandango (a lively and dramatic dance)
        flak jacket (a protective jacket)
        flat hatter (a hot shot pilot who likes to fly very low)
        four horsemen (four close teammates)
        four more years (a presidential re-election slogan)
        fruit booter (an in-line skater, as derided by skateboarders)
        fun runner (someone who, having no chance or desire to win
          a semi-competitive race, dresses up in a silly costume or 
          performs some stunt, while running)
        gas passer (a joking reference to an anesthetist; 
          a refueling plane)
  [the] Gray Lady (a nickname for the New York Times)
        green beanie (a Green Beret)
        green weenie (anything bad or distasteful)
        grit spitter (a Southerner)
        ground pounder (an infantryman)
        gunrunner (a gun smuggler)

        ham sandwich
        Hamtramck (pronounced "Ham-tram-ick")

        Harare (the capital of Zimbabwe)
        hillbilly (poor traditional mountain shack dwellers)
        hip flipper (an oriental dancer)
        hob goblin (a being of magic, fantasy and legend, usually having
          selfish or evil intent)
        Hoboken (New Jersey town)
        hockdockies (shoes)
        hog-dogging (to hunt wild pigs with dogs)
        knock hockey (a style of basketball playing that relies on
          bank shots; an indoor version of hockey played with sticks and a golf ball)
        manganese (a metal)
   [to] manhandle (to treat roughly)
        meat eater (a carnivore)
        muck sucker (one who acts in a disgusting manner)
        mundungus (tobacco that burns with a foul odor)
        nimgimmer (a doctor, especially one dealing with venereal disease)
        naysayer (one who unthinkingly refuses)
        nut cutlet (a disparaging reference to vegetarian cuisine)
        nut cutter (a person or thing that is dangerous or difficult)
        odd's bodkins (an exclamation of surprise or wonderment)
        pandanny (a palm-like tree of Tasmania)
        pandanus (a spice from Micronesia)
        pangwangle (to go on cheerfully despite setbacks)
        pan handle (the long thin parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Florida)
        panjandrum (a pompous dignitary) 
        pig ignorant (very stupid; willfully stupid)
        plug ugly (very ugly)
        pug ugly (most grievously ugly)
        ram-sammy (a raucous family argument; a Hindu)
        ringdinger (a humdinger; a remarkable case)
        rumbumtious (obstreperous)
        rumgumption (knowledge; ability)
        rumtumbooks (the ringtail roarer)
        schmegegge (an idiot)

        shop dropper (one who delivers goods to retailers)
        sky pilot (a military chaplain)
        slap happy (senselessly silly from exhaustion or punishment)

        slick licker (a machine for removing oil slicks from water)
        slow motion (a video presentation at reduced speed)
        snap apple (a game of trying to bite an apple hanging on a string)
        snot rocket [approximate rhyme] (a bulky nasal discharge)
        Sopchoppy (a town in Florida)
        stick picker (a man employed to pick up the remnants after 
          brush clearance)
        stump jumper (a farmer)
        swell belly (a belly distended from malnutrition)
        swell belly (a fish which puffs up as a defensive mechanism)
        swoon unit (a very attractive person)
        trust buster (a person who prosecutes monopolies)
        tub drubber (an emphatic preacher)
        Valhalla (home of the Norse gods)
        wang dangler (an exhibitionist)
        weed eater (a lawn trimmer)
        whiff sniffer (a prohibitionist)

Syllable, Rhyme1, Repeat2:


Syllable, Rhyme1, Repeat1:

        Bonobo (a chimpanzee that tells anthropologists a lot 
          about themselves)
        kanaka (a person from a South Sea island)
        katuka (a poisonous snake of southeast Asia)
        lobolo (a Bantu bride price)

Syllable, Rhyme1, distinct Rhyme1

        lokono - (an Arawakan language)
        Panama - (a central American country)

Syllable, Repeat1, Repeat1:


Syllable, Rhyme, Syllable, Syllable:

        pig ignorant
        stop, drop and roll - (the motto when your clothes are burning)


        fly by night (disreputable; unreliable)
        insincere (hypocritical)

Last modified on 26 April 2021.