About Dillfrog Muse
Dillfrog Muse is a set of free online tools to help with your [song]writing. Its defining features include:
- Rhyming (Sound) Dictionary - Find rhyming words with varying degrees of stability, including slant/off rhyme: perfect/identical, family, additive, consonance, assonance. Refine and group your results by factors such as part of speech (verb, noun, adjective, or adverb), familiarity, and syllable count.
- Meaning Dictionary/Thesaurus - Navigate words' meanings and relationships via hyperlinked WordNet data.
- Lists - Use our random word lists to fill in your blank. Resolve a writer's block, or simply steer your work in a new direction.
- Low mud - The minimalist, mobile-friendly interface helps you focus on the craft, not on other distractions.
This is our main rhyming-dictionary tool. Use it to search for words that look or sound similar to your input word.
The "match type" is the main algorithm to use when finding words based on their spelling or sound.
- I'm Feeling Rhymey
The default match type; this is a fast way to get a decent selection of words that rhyme and off-rhyme, without sacrificing a lot of stability of the rhyme. Here, we're trying to strike the balance delivering too few results, and too many results that don't seem like they should rhyme.
This match type's approach is likely to improve over time, but as of November 2015 the results are the same as the combination of: "Rhymes (from 2nd last vowel)", "Rhymes (from 3rd last vowel)", "Rhymes (perfect/identical)", "Rhymes (slant)", "Rhymes (family)".
- Rhymes (perfect/identical)
Also known as: perfect rhymes and identical rhymes.
This finds words where the stressed vowel sound, and all sounds after the stressed vowel are identical to the input word. Since we don't look at sounds prior to the vowel of primary stress, the results can include identical rhymes as well as perfect rhymes.
- Perfect rhymes are about as stable as you're going to get. They are useful in situations where you want to convey confidence, certainty, and strength.
- Perfect rhymes are hard to find, so they tend to be predictable and overused. If all the rhymes appear too cliche for your purposes, consider using a different match type like "Rhymes (slant)" or "Rhymes (family)" instead.
- Rhymes (any)
These results are the combination of "Rhymes (slant)" and "Rhymes (perfect/identical)"
- Rhymes (slant)
This finds words that are almost perfect rhymes of the input word, by ignoring unimportant phonemes or grouping related phonemes. Rhymes are still quite stable, without being as predictable as a perfect rhyme.
The results are based on various off-rhymes observed by the author in pop music, and has a lot in common with the "Rhyme (family)" match type.
For example (this is not a comprehensive list), we treat "Z" and "S" sounds as the same. We ignore the "P" and "K" sounds that come before a "T" sound. We ignore trailing "S" and "R" sounds.
- Rhymes (family)
This finds words that are almost perfect rhymes of the input word, by matching consonant sounds of the same family as one another.
For example, any plosive such as "P", "T", "K", "B", "G" and "D" can match any other plosive.
The same goes for fricatives (V, TH, Z, etc) and nasals (M, N).
Pat Pattison covers this type of rhyme very well in his online Songwriting course, which I highly recommend. See Week 4 for some great rhyme theory and examples.
- Rhymes (vowel shift)
This finds words that would perfectly rhyme with the input word, if the vowel sounds in the original word's rhyming syllables were changed to slightly different vowel sounds. These results won't feel like incredibly stable rhymes, but they're more stable than allowing the original vowel sound to match any vowel.
Vowel sounds are chosen based on their relationship in the vowel diagram, or within a diphthong.
Example: if you search for "smoke" (whose perfect-rhyme phonemes sound like "oke"), we find words whose perfect-rhyme phonemes sound like "ah-k", "oo-k", or "ow-k". So you get results like "block", "walk", "luke".
Example: a search for "bind" yields results like "bond", "leaned", and "beyond".
Example: a search for
- bond, leaned, beyond
Example: a search for "afford" yields results like "insured", "blurred", and "bernard".
- Vowel Sounds (last 2)
This finds words whose last 2 vowel sounds are the same as the word you typed, ignoring stress. If you typed a single-syllable word (i.e. it only has 1 vowel sound), then we find any words that share that last vowel sound.
Example: a search for "bind" yields results like "cites", "smile", "sometimes", and "institutionalized".
Example: a search for "affluent" yields results like "dual", "student", "monument" and "circumlocution".
- Mosaic Assonance
This is a "OMG, you read the documentation" special feature.
This is a separate, experimental tool that finds phrases whose vowel sounds are similar to your input word or phrase.
How to use:
In the search box, type a multisyllabic word or phrase that you want to find rhymes for. To be interesting, this ought to be at least 2 syllables. For example you might search for "alligator" or "the doctor is in".
In the search results, you see phrases whose vowel sounds match your input. Other preceding (non-matched) phrase input appears, grayed out. Phrases are bolded when their stress pattern matches your input stress pattern. Results are grouped by how many extra syllables are included in the phrase. For example, if you search for "eating pie", you might see "army design" in the '1 extra syllable' group. This is because the word "army" includes an extra syllable that is not matched: the "my" part of "army" is matched, but the "ar" part is just coming along for the ride.
- The search only matches vowel sounds, not consonant sounds. Because of this, many of the results may not feel fully resolved compared to your input word. Rhymes of long vowel sounds (eee, oh, eye, etc) will feel more stable than their shorter counterparts (ah, ih, etc).
- Results are in bold when they match the stress of your input pattern. These might be strong matches for you. The others might be good too, but this is a nice place to start.
- Sometimes your input words have multiple pronunciations. When this happens, we search for phrases that match any combination of those pronunciations. In the future, we might let you choose which pronunciations to use and which to ignore, but for now it's all-in.
Caveats, Known Issues:
- Although some words have multiple pronunciations, our phrase data only stores 1 pronunciation for each phrase. Because of this, some phrases might be excluded from the results when you are expecting an alternate pronunciation.
- When multiple pronunciations exist for the same word, we don't always pick the best pronunciation. For example, words like "wind", "subject, and "contest" are pronounced differently as a noun than as a verb. "Dr" can be pronounced like "doctor" or "drive". This tool isn't smart enough to realize the word is used as one or the other, so it might pick the wrong pronunciation when the word is used in context.
- We don't search if we cannot pronounce any input words. If this happens, check your spelling or pick alternative words that sound similar. Remember, only the vowel sounds matter [for now].
- Due to space limitations, the "preceding text" (gray text) in search results is not visible on small screens.
Word Type Filter
The Word Type filter allows you to narrow results by their part of speech (adjective, adverb, noun, or verb). Options are:
The default option, this skips part-of-speech filtering.
Only adjectives are displayed in the results.
Only adverbs are displayed in the results.
Only nouns are displayed in the results.
Only verbs are displayed in the results.
Only shows words that have at least 1 part of speech in common with the input word.
For example, if you use this filter to search for "run" (which can be used as a noun or a verb), we display verbs and nouns in the results.
Activities / Tutorial Ideas
- Sound Search
- What rhymes with these atypical or difficult words? Try using the "I'm Feeling Rhymey" match type for words like: "sushi", "silver", "orange", "purple", "typical".
- Are you having trouble finding a rhyme for a multisyllabic word? If so, try the "Vowel Sounds (exact)" search. This will find other words with the same vowel sounds and stress patterns. It tends to work really well and sounds fairly stable for words with 3 or more syllables. For example, consider the word "effigy" which doesn't have many perfect rhymes. A "Vowel Sounds (exact)" search yields results like "charity", "chemistry", "density", "sparingly" which share the same vowel sounds and stress pattern as "effigy".
- Create your own portmanteaus: Pick a word that you want to be the start of the portmanteau. Then, search with a Match Type of "Vowel Sounds (stressed + consonant)". All the results share the same primary-stress vowel sound and singe trailing consonant. Review these words as possible candidates for the first or second part of the portmanteau. For example, search for "snuggle" (the "UG" sound). You might see "luxury" in the results and reason that "snuggle" + "luxury" = "snuxury".
- Use the "Vowel Sounds (stressed + consonant)" or "Vowel Sounds (stressed)" to find similar words to string together in a phrase for a good rhythmic assonance feel. Group results by "Stress Pattern" so that words of similar stress and syllables are grouped together where you can find them. Use the "Word Type" filter to narrow to adjectives/nouns/etc depending on what blanks you're trying to fill. For example, you might search for "went" (the "EN" sound) and string results together like "He wENt to defENd his best friENd who surrENdered to bENches and cENsure, a sENseless advENture."
- Meaning Search
- Find related words and the right level of specificity by following "hyponym" and "hypernym" links from your search results. For example, you might search for "snow", meaning "a layer of snowflakes". The results show a hypernym of "layer" (snow is a type of layer), and hypernyms of "corn snow" and "crud" (these are types of snow). If you follow the link to "layer", you'll find other related layers like "cell wall", "stratosphere", "ozone layer", etc. You can use this to find related ideas, and the right level of specificity for your work.
- Word Lists
- Seed a short writing exercise by picking an item from each of the "Who?", "When?" and "Where?" lists.
- Add detail to your writing by picking very specific words from lists like "Clothing", "Feelings and Emotions", and "Man-Made Instruments".
- Atypical pronuniciations
Our data has some strange pronunciations. We'll clean up these outliers as we become aware of them. For example, at some point we encountered these impossibilities:
- "home" rhymed with "room", "broom", "zoom", etc (because proper noun "Home" is pronounced "hume")
- "bung" rhymed with "fun" (because it can be pronounced like "bung" or "bun")