- Comic verse composed in irregular rhythm.
- Verse or words that are badly written or expressed.
“I couldn’t find a birthday card I liked, so I wrote a funny bit of doggerel on a blank card.”
“I found my high school notebooks and was so embarrassed by the doggerel I used to write.”
“The idea started out as doggerel, but we worked on it until it became our best song.”
English, mid-17th century
Why this word?
While anyone who is brave enough to share their poetry should be commended, many of us likely made a clumsy attempt at verse in our angsty teenage years. There’s a word for such badly written poetry: “doggerel.” This word can be traced back to the 1600s, but the etymology suggests it might be named after particular 13th-century men named “Doggerel” (assuming they were guilty of penning painful poetry). However, it might also be an extension of “dog Latin,” a humorous style of mocking scholarly Latin usage. Either way, if the word “doggerel” is applied to any of your writings, don’t get discouraged. The only way to improve writing is to do it more.
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