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Limerick Definition

A limerick is a five-line, often humorous and ribald poem with a strict meter. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of have seven to ten syllables (three metrical feet) and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 have five to seven (two metrical feet) syllables and also rhyme with each other. The rhyme scheme is usually "A-A-B-B-A".

Limerick Rhythm

Limericks have a distinct rhythm. The rhythm is as follows:

da DUM da da DUM da da DUM   7-10 syllables   A
da DUM da da DUM da da DUM   7-10 syllables   A
da DUM da da DUM                       5-7 syllables    B
da DUM da da DUM                       5-7 syllables    B
da DUM da da DUM da da DUM    7-10 syllables  A

A limerick is a type of poem which follows a distinct rhyming scheme. This type of poem is usually humorous and witty and follows the AABBA rhyming scheme. This rhyme scheme dictates that the first, the second, and the fifth lines rhyme, where the third and fourth lines follow a different rhyme.

Limerick poems are often funny, and share a point of view, even a negative point, through humor and wit while also following the rhyme scheme which limerick poems are known for. Irish people are generally the creators of more well-known limerick poems, as they celebrate and use that form of poetry often. Many limerick poems offer a humorous view into an aspect of life and existence, and because of this, have become a favorite for many. While sometimes considered hard to write, many people enjoy reading and sharing this style of poem. A limerick must rhyme with the scheme, however, or it will not be considered as such. 

Limerick Poem Example

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
      But his daughter, named Nan,
      Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

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Other Limerick Definition

[n] a humorous verse form of 5 anapestic lines with a rhyme scheme aabba
[n] port city in southwestern Ireland

Misc. Definitions

\Lim"er*ick\, n. [Said to be from a song with the same verse construction, current in Ireland, the refrain of which contains the place name Limerick.] A nonsense poem of five anapestic lines, of which lines 1, 2, and 5 are of there feet, and rime, and lines 3 and 4 are of two feet, and rime; as There was a young lady, Amanda, Whose Ballades Lyriques were quite fin de Si[`e]cle, I deem But her Journal Intime Was what sent her papa to Uganda.

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