Rhyme or reason

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The phrase rhyme or reason has been in use since the 1400s. We will examine the meaning of rhyme or reason, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Rhyme or reason describes whether something makes sense, poetically or logically. The phrase rhyme or reason is usually rendered in the negative, as in no rhyme or reason, without rhyme or reason, neither rhyme nor reason. The term rhyme or reason comes from a French expression, sans rime ni raison, literally translated as without rhyme or reason. Shakespeare made the phrase popular, using it in his play The Comedy of Errors, written in 1590: “Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season, When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?”


Investigators in the inspector general’s office found little rhyme or reason to Interior’s reassignments. (The Fairfield Daily Republic)

They’re the only way to get Mewtwo, the rarest, non-regional Pokémon in the game, and the problem is that there seems to be little rhyme or reason as to who gets passes and when. (Forbes Magazine)

He said his agency sees folks driving impaired seven days a week, 365 days a year and sometimes there’s no apparent rhyme or reason as to why. (The Morning Journal)

Her neighbor Doug Litten chimed in, arguing that other withdrawn streets had been repaved “without rhyme or reason,” pointing to the smooth surface of other out-of-service streets in the area. (The Los Angeles Times)

It’s a place where you can endlessly shout (using caps lock) memes like “Dilly Dilly,” (a meme stemming from a beer commercial) or just post enormous blocks of emojis with no real rhyme or reason. (Popular Science Magazine)