Wordy Wednesday: Clerihew

Here is a fun literary word that I found on the Oxford University Press’s blog. I had never heard of it before, and the blog had a few other terms that I hadn’t heard of. If you’re looking for some new words, check out the link above!

Anyway, this week’s word is:


Named for English writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), Clerihew is a “form of comic or satiric verse, consisting of two couplets of metrically irregular lines, containing the name of a well-known person.” (Dictionary.com)


NPG x2861; E.C. Bentley by Howard Coster
by Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1934


A good example of a Clerihew is:

Geoffrey Chaucer

Could hardly have been coarser,

But this never harmed the sales

Of his Canterbury Tales

Another example would be:

The enemy of Harry Potter
Was a scheming plotter.
I can’t tell you what he’s called; I’d be ashamed
To name “he who must not be named.”

Writing your own Clerihew can be easy if you follow these four simple rules I found on Giggle Poetry Class:

1. They are four lines long.
2. The first and second lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other.
3. The first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person.
4. A clerihew should be funny.

I’m giving it a try!

Doctor Seuss

Was pretty loose

But his rhymes and reasons

Are great for all seasons

Now, it’s your turn! Give me your best Clerihew in the comments below, and let the silliness commence!

To learn more about Edmund Clerihew Bentley and the Clerihew, visit Encyclopaedia Brittanica. The photo came from Here.



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