Some words do rhyme like 'mate' and 'hate' or 'boot' and 'shoot'. But there are other words whose spelling suggests that they should rhyme, but they don't. Examples include: 'hull' and 'pull', 'blood' and 'brood', 'but' and 'put' etc.

I have been wondering about these words a lot recently. Is there any specific name for these words?

  • 2
    Of interest: english.stackexchange.com/questions/426965/… Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 12:26
  • 1
    Out of interest where do hull/pull or but/put not rhyme? Both those pairs rhyme here (Scotland). Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 21:02
  • 3
    I'm from the midwest US and to me hull/pull completely rhyme, but but/put don't. ('but' rhymes with putt, mutt, and cut, but 'put' has a different vowel sound that rhymes with soot and foot, which is going to be real confusing to anyone in the british isles.) Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 21:53
  • 1
    @TobySpeight et al: southern BrE speaker here. Neither of those pairs rhyme for me. But/put are exactly as Darth states (/ʌ/ and /ʊ/, I think); for hull/pull, "hull" has the same vowel as in "but" /ʌ/ - but that vowel may well be a different one for northern BrE speakers! Meanwhile, "pull" has the same vowel as "book" or "foot" /ʊ/. Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 17:18
  • 1
    @SteveMelnikoff - All we need now is a Lancastrian with loook & boook rather than luck & buck & we've got the set;) I'm Yorkshire, but living in London for 30 years I still find it slightly odd that people here can rhyme cup with hat :P Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


They are called eye rhymes (or visual rhymes or sight rhymes). Other examples are Sean Bean (pronounced Shawn Been), love and move, wood and food, come and home, bough and though mind and wind (movement of air) etc.

  • 4
    I just understood why they are called "eye rhymes". It is because they look like rhymes to the eye but actually they don't rhyme.
    – Meh
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 12:48
  • 1
    Love and move used to rhyme in early middle english but the vowel shift got to 'em and love changed into luv. Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 21:55
  • @DarthPseudonym: 'Love' used to be written lufe, the 'u' was changed into 'o' due to minim confusion.
    – Void
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 3:04
  • The trouble with this phrase is, you may well have to explain what it means. Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 12:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .