Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives



Mar 13, 2015
This week’s theme
Poetic forms

This week’s words
clerihew
epigram
cento
limerick
doggerel

This week's comments
AWADmail 663

Next week's theme
Words with all vowels
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

doggerel

PRONUNCIATION:
(DO-guhr-uhl, DOG-uhr-)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Comic verse that is irregular in rhythm and in rhyme especially for burlesque or comic effect.
2. Trivial or bad poetry.

NOTES:
Here’s poet John Skelton (c. 1463-1529) defending his doggerels:
For though my rhyme be ragged,
Tattered and jagged,
Rudely rain-beaten,
Rusty and moth-eaten,
If ye take well therewith,
It hath in it some pith.

ETYMOLOGY:
Dogs have a bad rap in the language (see dog’s chance, dogsbody) and the word doggerel reflects that view. The word is apparently a diminutive of the word dog. Earliest documented use: 1405.

USAGE:
“In the first world war 324,000 Australians volunteered to fight overseas, an extraordinary number in a nation of fewer than 5m people. Of the 60,000 Australians who died in the war, 8,700 were lost in a few months during a hopeless attempt to capture Gallipoli, a small piece of territory in Turkey. In the words of a piece of doggerel at the time, ‘In five minutes flat, we were blown to hell / Nearly blew us right back to Australia.’”
Obituary: Alec Campbell; The Economist (London, UK); Jun 1, 2002.

See more usage examples of doggerel in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Don't ask me who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he's digested, and I've been reading all my life. -Giorgos Seferis, writer, diplomat, Nobel laureate (13 Mar 1900-1971)

A.Word.A.Day by email:

Subscribe

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith