Comedian Hannibal Buress once rhymed “Morpheus” with “seashells by the seashorfeus” (see also full text). The latter phrase references a tongue-twister that goes “she sells seashells by the seashore”.

Buress deliberately changed the ending of the word “seashore”, so it could rhyme with “Morpheus”. Is there a name for this particular rhyme? If not, to which more general class this kind of rhyme could belong? Wikipedia's types of rhymes doesn't list anything similar.

If there's no name for that kind of rhyming, what are similar examples of such rhyming?

  • Deliberately modifying words for the sake of rhymes?
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 18, 2015 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


This is a species of forced rhyme, although that term is also used for any rhyme for the sake of which normal word order, scansion, or diction have been unduly sacrificed.

The type of forced rhyme exemplified by the questioner’s quotation from Buress is particularly tempting when one is attempting trisyllabic rhyme, which works out rather well as both tend to humor. Thus W. S. Gilbert, in the Major-General’s self-introductory number in The Pirates of Penzance, coins the hitherto unheard-of adjectives animalculous (to rhyme with calculus), parabolous (to rhyme with Heliogabalus), and adventury (to rhyme with century)—and further perpetrates lot o’ news to rhyme with hypotenuse, and heard the music’s din afore to rhyme with Pinafore.


I think poetic licence is a generic but appropriate expression for this kind of unusual practices:

  • the ​act by a ​writer or ​poet of ​changing ​facts or ​rules to make a ​story or ​poem more ​interesting or ​effective.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

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