[ dictionary ]
[ noun ]
- : a light verse quatrain rhyming aabb and usually dealing with a person named in the initial rhyme
My favorite of Edmund C. Bentley's clerihews is the following:
What I like about Clive /
Is that he is no longer alive. /
There is a great deal to be said /
For being dead.
Did you know?
Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) was an English writer whose book Biography for Beginners was published in 1906 under the name E. Clerihew. It was a collection of simple, humorous four-line verses about famous people. Bentley had begun writing them as a bored high school student. He didn't call them clerihews himself, but his readers began to do so after the book appeared. How soon after, we can't be sure, because so far we've unearthed nothing earlier than a 1928 description of clerihews as "nice slack metres and sly points." In any case, people have been having fun writing their own clerihews ever since Bentley shared his.
Source: 'clerihew' was m-w.com's Word of the Day for December 01, 2006
Word of the Day copyright © 1995-2006 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
This page last modifed PST