"a petty poet, a feeble rhymster, a writer of indifferent verses," 1590s, from French poetastre (1550s), from Latin poeta (see poet) + French-derived -aster, a diminutive (pejorative) suffix. Old Norse had skaldfifl in roughly the same sense. Early modern English had rimester (1580s). Swinburne (1872) used poeticule. Related: Poetastry.