Is there any English single word that can be used to indicate a poem with invented words, like Jabberwocky? I am looking for a single word rather than a two-word expression like "nonsense poem", "nonsense verse". Also, it doesn't have to indicate necessarily a Limerick.

(Of course, should this word not exist, please feel free to invent one …)

EDIT: I have found that in Italian this is called "metasemantic poetry" which is not a single word but it sounds ok to me. However, apparently this expression is not used in English.

  • 1
    – tchrist
    Nov 27, 2013 at 6:02
  • 2
    Vogon, perhaps? Nov 27, 2013 at 9:49
  • «Namárië» could be an interesting new word for something similar - but the entire language is invented there. Doesn't «Vogon» refer just to "bad poetry"? Nov 27, 2013 at 23:07
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    Second-worst in the universe! But it does seem to be made up mostly of made-up words (possibly in Vogon, possibly just nonsense words—but Vogon is an invented language, anyways). Nov 27, 2013 at 23:27
  • Wasn't it the third worst? :-) Nov 27, 2013 at 23:42

3 Answers 3


Must it refer to only a poem? Amphigory is close, but more broadly applicable.

  • +1 «Amphigory» is a piece of nonsensical writing (but not necessarily it has invented words in it). I am thinking of a poem where the structure of sentences respects the grammatical rules of a language, sounds like that language, but is made up of invented words (it might even make you think that you understand its meaning - while you are obviously not). Nov 27, 2013 at 23:22
  • Amphigory comes up as a synonym on searching 'nonsense verse synonym' in Google.
    – Sam
    May 15, 2014 at 13:12

How about Pseudolexipoesy? Although it's made up, people looking at it would be able to work out what it means.

Actually in Greek putting two or more words together to make a third (or more+oneth) is not making them up, it's parts of the language structure.

  • Or perhaps pseudolexipoem and pseudolexipoetry? May 15, 2014 at 12:46

Doggerel fits, but covers more ground than just nonsense with invented words.

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