from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A humorous verse, usually consisting of two unmatched rhyming couplets, about a person whose name generally serves as one of the rhymes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A rhyme of four lines, usually regarding a person mentioned in the first line.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a witty satiric verse containing two rhymed couplets and mentioning a famous person.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a witty satiric verse containing two rhymed couplets and mentioning a famous person


After Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), British writer.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Named after Edmund Clerihew Bentley (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Here the TV says Reeko or Rick-o:

    Riccardo Ricco
    was fingered by a medico
    turned out he was dealing
    while most of his team were only wheeling

    July 19, 2008

  • Shevek: not a strict clerihew since the first line is more than just name, but excusable since extra-funny.

    July 19, 2008

  • Thanks bilby!

    Riccardo Riccò
    went faster than anyone else could go.
    He went faster than a moped
    but it turned out that he was dopéd.

    July 19, 2008

  • I can't remember where I found it, but one of my favorite clerihews is

    Said Descartes "I extol
    Myself because I have a soul
    And beasts do not." Of course
    He had to put Des Cartes before the horse.

    July 19, 2008

  • In Italian orthography, the accent shows where the stress falls. It appears in words where the stress is on the final syllable as this is a relatively 'unnatural' pattern for Italian. Still, there are certain tenses, eg. future and remote past, that fraught with finally-accented forms. So, yes, you are correct yarb. Ric-CO.

    July 19, 2008

  • Can an Italian-speaker help me out please? I want to do a clerihew about Riccardo Riccò - am I right in thinking you stress the second syllable of his surname? I.e. it would rhyme with go rather than thicko?

    July 19, 2008

  • The two favorite clerihews in a Boston Globe contest.

    Tim Berners-Lee
    Invented HTTP
    Thus the World Wide Web was born
    For Nigerian Diplomats and porn.

    Bill Gates
    Has left the giant software company everyone hates.
    "Hey, Mistah?
    Are *you* gonna use Vista?"

    July 14, 2008

  • The example sentence always cracks me up:
    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."

    December 8, 2006