Some words are not words you end up using every day, but they’re useful nonetheless. Take this word, poetaster. It’s a high-sounding, medieval-ish insult — and the other person probably won’t know what it means. Sometimes you want to pull out a fun, out-of-the-ordinary insult for a little extra flourish. Poetaster fits the bill perfectly when you want to nail your friend with something florid and brainy.
There’s an awful lot of poetasters wandering around. Some people should have the good sense to stay away from poetry, or to practice their inanities in private and only inflict them on themselves. Poetry, like many things in life, is not as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of hard work and uncommon skill with language to come up with poetry that seems effortless. I’m all for trying new things and developing your talents, etc, but there’s also a fine line when it comes to “sharing” your work with the world. Those who can’t should practice till they can, or leave it to those who do have the skill. Besides, you might be better at something else. We can’t all be guitar players or poets.
Word of the Day
July 25
: an inferior poet
Example Sentence
“Germaine Greer, Chair Of Judges For The National Poetry Competition 2000, Invites Entries From Readers, But Be Warned: Poetasters Need Not Apply” (Headline, The [London] Independent, May 7, 2000)
Did you know?
In Latin, the suffix “-aster” indicates partial resemblance. In both Latin and English, that often translates to “second-rate,” or maybe even “third-rate.” Not surprisingly, “poetaster” often goes hand in hand with “doggerel,” meaning “verse marked by triviality or inferiority.” … Are there are other kinds of “-asters” out there? Yes indeed — we have criticasters, philosophasters, and politicasters, among others.