follow Dictionary.com

11 Trending Words of 2014

limerick

[lim-er-ik] /ˈlɪm ər ɪk/
noun
1.
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.
Origin
1895-1900
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

Limerick

[lim-er-ik] /ˈlɪm ər ɪk/
noun
1.
a county in N Munster, in the SW Republic of Ireland. 037 sq. mi. (2686 sq. km).
2.
its county seat: a seaport at the head of the Shannon estuary.
3.
Angling. a fishhook having a sharp bend below the barb.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for limericks
  • Clerihews are more fun than limericks, and more useful than letter mnemonics for remembering things.
  • As for apes, they would hardly make headlines any more if they were found to be adept at composing limericks.
  • Most cultures have parallel forms of nursery rhymes, limericks and simple poetry that children easily understand and enjoy.
  • It contains selections of various poetic forms, such as limericks and tongue-twisters, and nursery rhymes.
  • Practice of sound formation and discussion of proper articulation were wrapped up with tongue twisters and limericks.
  • We will miss her humor, her songs, and her limericks on the bus during excursions.
  • The limericks, verses of all kinds, alphabets and botanies are as daft and amusing as the pictures.
British Dictionary definitions for limericks

limerick

/ˈlɪmərɪk/
noun
1.
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
Word Origin
C19: allegedly from will you come up to Limerick?, a refrain sung between nonsense verses at a party

Limerick

/ˈlɪmərɪk/
noun
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for limericks

limerick

n.

nonsense verse of five lines, 1896, perhaps from the county and city in Ireland, but if so the connection is obscure. Often (after OED's Murray) 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?" but he reported this in 1898 and earlier evidence is wanting. Or perhaps from Learic, from Edward Lear (1812-1888) English humorist who popularized the form. Earliest examples are in French, which further complicates the quest for the origin. OED's first record of the word is in a letter of Aubrey Beardsley. The place name is literally "bare ground," from Irish Liumneach, from lom "bare, thin." It was famous for hooks.

The limerick may be the only traditional form in English not borrowed from the poetry of another language. Although the oldest known examples are in French, the name is from Limerick, Ireland. John Ciardi suggests that the Irish Brigade, which served in France for most of the eighteenth centiry, might have taken the form to France or developed an English version of a French form. ... The contemporary limerick usually depends on a pun or some other turn of wit. It is also likely to be somewhat suggestive or downright dirty." [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry," Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1986]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
limericks in Culture

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.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for limericks

Limerick

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.

Learn more about Limerick with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for limerick

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for limericks

17
20
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with limericks

Nearby words for limericks