Limericks are witty 5-line poems that originate from Limerick, Ireland. (Anything on the Internet is true, right?) Historically limericks originated in France but became popularized in Limerick, where the story goes that drinking Irish poets would have poetry battles.
After Edward Lear published a collection of limericks in A Book of Nonsense, the limerick became cemented as a witty, nonsensical poem. A limerick is a fun kind of poem that anyone can write and is delightful for both adults and children. Just ask Bruce Lansky…
(Psst! Looking for some famous limericks to read? Check out these 5.)
What are the rules of a limerick?
A standard limerick has three rules:
- Five lines long
- Rhyme scheme of AABBA
- Meter scheme of trimeter on the A rhyme, and dimeter on the B rhyme
Super easy! Anyone can do it!
But since anyone could do it, poets came along and had to complicate things. So now there are variations of the standard limerick:
- Double limerick. 10 lines, with either a doubled rhyme scheme or just smashing two limericks together (AABBAAABBA or AABBACCDDC).
- Beheaded limerick. A standard limerick, but with truly nonsense verse.
- Reverse limerick. A standard limerick that is written in response to another standard limerick.
- Extended limerick. Because why write in 5 lines what you can write in 6 or 9? (AABBAA OR AABBCCA).
- Truncated limerick. A standard limerick, but instead of a trimeter last line, you have a dimeter last line.
How to write a limerick
Don’t stress. Limericks are a squeeze.
- Choose your A and B rhymes. If you choose an easier rhyme, you’ll have a fun time.
- Write your lines. Try to have 3 beats and 2 beats on the A and B lines. You can easily tell a cool story or just a hilarious one.
This article isn’t as short as a limerick but it is short and sweet. So is writing limericks.
What advice would you give to someone writing a limerick? Want to have a limerick battle? Share in the comments!