Expelled from Ephesus in 540 BC by the tyrant Athenagoras, he took refuge in Clazomenae, where he spent the rest of his life in poverty. His deformed figure and malicious disposition exposed him to the caricature of the Chian sculptors Bupalus and Athenis, upon whom he revenged himself by issuing against them a series of satires. They are said to have hanged themselves like Lycambes and his daughters when assailed by Archilochus, the model and predecessor of Hipponax.
His coarseness of thought and feeling, his want of grace and taste, and his numerous allusions to matters of merely local interest prevented his becoming a favourite in Attica. He was considered the inventor of parody and of a peculiar metre, the scazon or choliamb, which substitutes a spondee for the final iambus of an iambic senarius, and is an appropriate form for the burlesque character of his poems. He composed in a form of Ionic Greek that includes an unusually high proportion of Lydian loanwords.
Among his aphorisms is "There are two days when a woman is a pleasure: the day one marries her and the day one buries her."