a kind of humorous verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet.

1895–1900; after Limerick; allegedly from social gatherings where the group sang “Will you come up to Limerick?” after each set of verses, extemporized in turn by the members of the party Unabridged


a county in N Munster, in the SW Republic of Ireland. 037 sq. mi. (2686 sq. km).
its county seat: a seaport at the head of the Shannon estuary.
Angling. a fishhook having a sharp bend below the barb. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
limerick (ˈlɪmərɪk)
a form of comic verse consisting of five anapaestic lines of which the first, second, and fifth have three metrical feet and rhyme together and the third and fourth have two metrical feet and rhyme together
[C19: allegedly from will you come up to Limerick?, a refrain sung between nonsense verses at a party]

Limerick (ˈlɪmərɪk)
1.  a county of SW Republic of Ireland, in N Munster province: consists chiefly of an undulating plain with rich pasture and mountains in the south. County town: Limerick. Pop: 175 304 (2002). Area: 2686 sq km (1037 sq miles)
2.  a port in SW Republic of Ireland, county town of Limerick, at the head of the Shannon estuary. Pop: 86 998 (2002)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

nonsense verse of five lines, 1896, perhaps from the county and city in Ireland, but if so the connection is obscure. It is usually attributed to a party game in which each guest in turn made up a nonsense verse and all sang a refrain with the line "Will you come up to Limerick?" Or perhaps from Learic,
from Edward Lear (1812-88) English humorist who popularized the form. Earliest examples are in French, which further complicates the quest for the origin. First record of the word is in a letter of Aubrey Beardsley. The place name is lit. "bare ground," from Ir. Liumneach, from lom "bare, thin."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

limerick definition

A form of humorous five-line verse, such as:

There once was a young man from Kew
Who found a dead mouse in his stew.
Said the waiter, “Don't shout
Or wave it about,
Or the rest will be wanting one too!”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


county, southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster. Its northern boundary, with County Clare, is the River Shannon and its estuary. The River Maigue bisects the county and flows north into the Shannon. On the west the boundary with County Kerry runs through plateaus 1,000-2,000 feet high (300-600 metres). On the east the boundary with Tipperary runs from the Shannon to Slievefelim (1,524 feet [465 metres]), then across the Golden Vale southward to the Galtee mountains to the summit of Galtymore (3,018 feet [920 metres]). The southern boundary, with Cork, follows the Ballyhoura Hills, a continuation of the line of the Galtees. Lowland Limerick is mainly a rolling landscape with a variety of glacial drifts diversified by hills, including a number of isolated volcanic hills. The peat bog that formerly covered parts of the lowland has been largely removed, and pastoral farming dominates. The farms are about 50-80 acres (20-32 hectares) in size. There are remains of round towers at Ardpatrick and Dysert, of prehistoric monuments at Lough Gur, and of numerous monasteries in the city of Limerick and elsewhere.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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