from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A light humorous, nonsensical, or bawdy verse of five usually anapestic lines with the rhyme scheme aabba, in which the first, second, and fifth lines are in trimeter, and the third and fourth lines are in dimeter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A nonsense song or verse, one of a series of impromptu productions of a free character, sung at convivial parties in Ireland.
  • noun A nonsense verse of a fixed type, more or less amusing, of the pattern of those written by Edward Lear in his “Book of Nonsense.” See Learic. The following is an example:

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A humorous, often nonsensical, and sometimes risqé poem of five anapestic lines, of which lines 1, 2, and 5 are of three feet, and rhyme, and lines 3 and 4 are of two feet, and rhyme.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A humorous, often bawdy verse of five anapestic lines, with the rhyme scheme aabba, and typically has a 9-9-6-6-9 cadence.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun port city in southwestern Ireland
  • noun a humorous verse form of 5 anapestic lines with a rhyme scheme aabba


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[After Limerick.]


The word limerick has been adopted by Wordnik, in honor of Quentin Michael Sullivan.

Help support Wordnik by adopting your own word here.



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  • There was a young man from Japan

    whose limericks never would scan.

    And when they asked why,

    he said: "Because I

    always try and fit as many words into the last line as I possibly can."

    May 15, 2007

  • Boo!

    May 15, 2007

  • A groaner, to be sure. One of my brother's favorites. :-)

    May 15, 2007

  • One of my favorites, largely because the last two lines are so much fun to say:

    A tutor who tooted a flute

    Tried to teach two young tooters to toot.

    Said the two to the tutor,

    "Is it harder to toot or

    to tutor two tooters to toot?"

    January 18, 2008

  • I love that one! Thanks for posting it, I had forgotten how it went. :-)

    January 18, 2008

  • I tried my hand at limericking at recrudescent. Not sure I succeeded terribly well. Come to think of it, I may have simply succeeded terribly.

    January 18, 2008

  • Good grief! It's sort of limerickesque, but trying to rhyme such an awkward word threw off the meter a bit. Funny though! :-)

    January 18, 2008

  • One of my favorites is on Sioux. (I could've sworn it was already there before today, but... *shrugs*)

    January 2, 2009

  • Wordies, wordnikkers, whatevers: if you have a talent for limericks, here's a chance for you to win something pretty.

    November 28, 2009

  • Etymology-wise, the link with the city of Limerick in Ireland is not very clear.

    March 12, 2019

  • Thank you for the adoption, Wordnik!

    July 4, 2021

  • Kind of ironic that qms never posted one of his gems on this word.

    July 4, 2021