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Eiffel Tower in center of French flag imprinted with RHYMED and ENDS
No. of Players: 1+
Type of Game: written or spoken
What you need: pen & paper or nothing


To write a poem using pre-given words.

How to play

Bouts-Rimés is French, literally meaning 'rhymed-ends.' One player provides the others a set of rhyming words. This set can alternatively be compiled through a group effort, with each player contributing a word or two. If there is only one player, words can be selected from a dictionary or by brainstorming. Each player is to compose a poem using the rhyming words at the end of the lines. Poems can either by recited spontaneously, or written down within a specified time and then recited aloud. Players can also compose the poem together, with one player writing/speaking the first line, the second player the second line, and so on. The only criterion is that the lines with the rhyming words appear together, so that the poem properly flows. If there are a sufficient number of people, players can vote on the best composition (other than their own, of course).


The rhyming words are CHEST, WEST, FEET and SEAT. The two players are given 3 minutes to compose their poems.

Andrew's poem:

He stood with puffed out chest,
Having decided today to head west.
With his two feet,
He left his seat.

Bernice's poem:

The captain rose from his seat,
Gripped the rail and lifted his feet,
Descended downstairs and walked west,
To count the gold in his treasure chest.

Did you know?

The invention of the bouts-rimés game is attributed to a minor 17th century French poet. His name was Dulot. But curiously, it was not intentional on his part. Here's how it happened.

silhouette of a feather in an inkwell

In 1648, Dulot was complaining to colleagues that he had been robbed of three hundred sonnets. Everyone was astonished that he had written so many. But he explained they were 'blank sonnets,' which meant that only the rhymes were written down, and nothing else. This struck his audience as rather amusing.

French woman walking poodle with word pairs LEASH, SWISH and GIRL, HURL

Others who heard the story recognized the value of writing down pairs of rhyming words to spur sonnet composition. In short order, bouts-rimés became a fashion throughout 17th–18th century France.

cartoon grasshopper and cricket

Even notable poets got into the game. It's known, for instance, that Dante Gabriel Rossetti practiced his rhyming facility by filling in verses from bouts-rimés. And it's said that John Keats produced his famous poem "On the Grasshopper and Cricket" (1816) in a bouts-rimés competition.

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