MEANING: noun: A humorous, pseudo-biographical verse of four lines of uneven length, with the rhyming scheme AABB, and the first line containing the name of the subject.

ETYMOLOGY: After writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), who originated it. Earliest documented use: 1928. Here is one of his clerihews:

Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul’s.”


CHERIHEW - I cannot tell a lie, Fathler, I did cut down the tree.

CLERIHEM - to shorten priestly robes

CLERIHEE - half of a chuckle, upon reading a humorous short verse with lines of uneven length
(see also CLERIHAW)