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Doggerel

  • By: Kenneth R. Dutton
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

The term doggerel is derived from the word dog, used in a derogatory sense (as in dog Latin, gone to the dogs, etc.), the suffix –erel adding further to the term's pejorative overtones (cf. mongrel, scoundrel). While the ways in which doggerel may be distinguished from fine poetry are various—either relating to its departure from formal values such as regular meter and proper rhyme or because of the triviality of the sentiments expressed—the term is commonly used in a general sense, simply meaning bad verse.

Not all doggerel is of a humorous nature. It may be found in nursery rhymes, many popular songs, and advertising jingles, for instance, as well as in the mawkishly sentimental banalities of greeting cards often purporting to be the work ...

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