po·​et·​as·​ter ˈpō-ə-ˌta-stər How to pronounce poetaster (audio)
: an inferior poet

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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.

Example Sentences

she's a poetaster whose verse never rises above what is found on greeting cards
Recent Examples on the Web Heti’s detractors could probably put a bottle in the middle of a table and entertain themselves reading lines out of context in suave, poetaster voices. New York Times, 7 Feb. 2022 But -aster words have never been particularly common, with the exception of poetaster, an inferior poet. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'poetaster.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Latin poeta + -aster -aster

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of poetaster was in 1601


Dictionary Entries Near poetaster

Cite this Entry

“Poetaster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poetaster. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

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