Glossary

Term: Limerick


A limerick is a five-line poem, almost always humorous, and frequently rude. Its rhyme scheme is aabba, with the first, second and last lines having three stresses and the third and fourth lines having two. Edward Lear, a frequent writer of limericks, often had his first and last lines identical, or nearly so, making it a circular form; contemporary limericks seem to prefer to let the poem continue, as Michael Rosen's '3 Limericks' show.

How to use this term

Limericks do not, as a rule, lend themselves to serious poems.

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