Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rhyme; rime.

rhyme; rime. “Rhyme” means generally (1) “the correspondence of sound in words or lines of verse”; or (2) “a poem or poetry.” “Rime” means “the icy crystals on a freezing surface; frost.” Because of this long-standing differentiation, “rime” as a variant of “rhyme” ought to be discouraged. Historically, though, “rime” is correct for “poetry.” But a linguist once incorrectly traced the native Middle English word “rime” to a Greek antecedent, and as a result generations of schoolchildren have learned to use the more difficult — and technically wrong — spelling “rhyme.” It’s now standard. “Rime” still appears for “rhyme” on rare occasions. But unless it’s in a historical or jocular context (or there’s an ancient mariner involved), use the modern spelling — e.g.: “This informative section also includes suggestions for helping children read and write by using letter-onset/rime [read ‘rhyme’] analogies, and for encouraging bilingual children’s writing.” Cathy J. Morton, “Writing in the Elementary Classroom: A Reconsideration,” Childhood Educ., 1 Oct. 2002, at 54. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “All writing is communication. But most writing hopes to go further. It hopes to make the reader react in certain ways — with pleased smiles, nods of assent, stabs of pathos, or whatever. So we can say, generally, that writing is the art of creating desired effects.” John R. Trimble, Writing with Style 6 (2d ed. 2000).
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