Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
OK for quick use, fiddly for extended use.
on 7 August 2012
I have both the Penguin Rhyming Dictionary and the Complete Rhyming Dictionary and they're each useful in their own way.
The strengths of the Penguin Rhyming Dictionary are:
If you know the word you want to rhyme, you look up that word in the index then find the section containing rhymes for that word;
The rhyme lists are large and relatively comprehensive.
The weaknesses of the Penguin Rhyming Dictionary are:
There appears to be no obvious organisation of the rhyming section. Rhymes are not organised so that all rhymes beginning -A, -E, -I are in order, and masculine and feminine rhymes are all jumbled up together. This means that it is difficult to use the rhyming section without first referring to the index. If you only have a couple of words to look up that's OK, but if you're looking for a large number of rhymes (or are looking for family rhymes) this quickly becomes time-consuming and, ultimately, tiresome.
There is the occasional pointlessly expanded list of compound words. -ity being a case in point. It would take far less paper and be clearer to make a note for words ending in -ual, -ial, -il that -ity can be appended where appropriate. Anyone who's using a rhyming dictionary is probably smart enough to know that you can append -ity to 'eventual' and 'trivial'.
The paperback version of the book has a tendency to fall to pieces: I've had mine for 6 weeks now and the first pages are already falling out.
The strengths of the Complete Rhyming Dictionary are:
The rhyming section of the dictionary are split into masculine rhymes and feminine rhymes and organised by phonetic sound within each section. This makes it easier to find rhymes by scanning the rhyming section, and to find family rhymes.
There aren't as many pointlessly expanded lists of words - words tend to be reduced to a basic stub with a note that they can be expanded using various suffixes.
The weaknesses of the Complete Rhyming Dictionary are:
There is no word index. If you don't know how find the phonetic sound you want you're scuppered. Personally I didn't find this much of a problem - it took me about 5 minutes to learn the sounds specified in the index and begin using the dictionary in anger - but this might not be the case for other people.
It's an American book. Although I didn't have any trouble finding "Fire" (it's in the same list as Aspire, Rewire and other words rhyming -'R) there are pronunciation differences between British and American English to do with which syllables are stressed in multi-syllable words: You say adúlt, we say ádult, you say díctate, we say dictáte. This occasionally causes a word the British would put in the masculine rhyme section under one heading (dictáte, under -ate) to occur in the feminine rhyme section under another heading (díctate under -ict). Personally I think this is just a slight annoyance (compared with the endless index-related fiddling of the Penguin Dictionary) and I cross-check with the Penguin dictionary to make sure I'm not missing anything. Others might find it more of an irritation.