limerick (in poetry)
limerick, type of humorous verse. It is always short, often nonsensical, and sometimes ribald. Of unknown origin, the limerick is popular rather than literary and has even been used in advertising. The rhyme scheme of most limericks is usually aabba, as in the following example:
There was an old man from Peru,The most famous collection of limericks is Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense (1846).
Who dreamed he was eating his shoe.
He woke in a fright
In the middle of the night
And found it was perfectly true.
See L. Reed, The Complete Limerick Book (1925); C. P. Aiken, A Seizure of Limericks (1964); V. B. Holland, An Explosion of Limericks (1967); W. S. Baring-Gould, The Lure of the Limerick (1967).
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Publication information: Article title: limerick (in poetry). Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
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