doggerel

/daw"geuhr euhl, dog"euhr-/, adj.
1. (of verse)
a. comic or burlesque, and usually loose or irregular in measure.
b. rude; crude; poor.
n.
2. doggerel verse.
Also, doggrel /daw"greuhl, dog"reuhl/.
[1350-1400; ME; see DOG, -REL; cf. DOG LATIN]

* * *

      a low, or trivial, form of verse, loosely constructed and often irregular, but effective because of its simple mnemonic rhyme and loping metre. It appears in most literatures and societies as a useful form for comedy and satire. It is characteristic of children's game rhymes from ancient times to the present and of most nursery rhymes.

      One of the earliest uses of the word is found in the 14th century in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer (Chaucer, Geoffrey), who applied the term “rym doggerel” to his “Tale of Sir Thopas,” a burlesque of the long-winded medieval romance.

      John Skelton (Skelton, John), caught in the transition between Chaucer's medieval language and the beginning of the English Renaissance, wrote verse long considered to be almost doggerel. He defended himself in Colin Clout:

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.

      Since then, doggerel has been employed in most English comic verse, from that of Samuel Butler and Jonathan Swift to the American poet Ogden Nash.

      The German version, called Knüttelvers (literally “cudgel verse”), was popular during the Renaissance and was later used for comic effect by such poets as J.W. von Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller. Doggerel verse is still commonly heard in limericks and nonsense verse, popular songs, and commercial jingles.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Doggerel — is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value. The word probably derived from dog, suggesting either ugliness, or unpalatability (as in food fit only for dogs).[1] Contents 1 Etymology 2 Variants 3 …   Wikipedia

  • Doggerel — Dog ger*el, a. [OE. dogerel.] Low in style, and irregular in measure; as, doggerel rhymes. [1913 Webster] This may well be rhyme doggerel, quod he. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Doggerel — Dog ger*el, n. A sort of loose or irregular verse; mean or undignified poetry. [1913 Webster] Doggerel like that of Hudibras. Addison. [1913 Webster] The ill spelt lines of doggerel in which he expressed his reverence for the brave sufferers.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Doggerel —   [ dɔgərəl] der, s/ s, englische Bezeichnung für einen holprigen Vers ähnlich dem deutschen Knittelvers, oft bewusst für komische Effekte verwendet …   Universal-Lexikon

  • doggerel — late 14c. (adj.); 1630s (n.), probably from DOG (Cf. dog) + pejorative suffix REL (Cf. rel) and applied to bad poetry perhaps with a suggestion of puppyish clumsiness, or being fit only for dogs. Attested as a surname from mid 13c., but the sense …   Etymology dictionary

  • doggerel — ► NOUN 1) comic verse composed in irregular rhythm. 2) badly written verse. ORIGIN apparently from DOG(Cf. ↑doggish) (used contemptuously) …   English terms dictionary

  • doggerel — [dôg′rəldôg′ər əl] n. [ME dogerel (Chaucer), prob. < It doga, barrel stave, but infl. by dog as in DOG LATIN: parallel with Ger knüttelvers, lit., cudgel verse, Prov bastonnet, little stick, type of verse] 1. trivial, awkward, often comic… …   English World dictionary

  • doggerel — 1. adjective /ˈdɒɡərəl/ a) Of a crude or irregular construction. (Originally applied to humorous verse, but now to verse lacking artistry or meaning.) True wit has seen its best days long ago; …   Wiktionary

  • doggerel — [[t]dɒ̱gər(ə)l, AM dɔ͟ː [/t]] N UNCOUNT (disapproval) If you refer to a poem as doggerel, you are emphasizing that you think it is very bad poetry. ...fragments of meaningless doggerel …   English dictionary

  • doggerel — I. adjective Etymology: Middle English dogerel, probably diminutive of dogge dog Date: 14th century loosely styled and irregular in measure especially for burlesque or comic effect; also marked by triviality or inferiority II. noun Date: 1630… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.