Limerick Definition

Definition

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

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

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.

See Also...

city, Eire, Ireland, Irish Free State, metropolis, port, rhyme, urban center, verse