A limerick poem is a poem where the first, second, and fifth lines have the same rhyme and rhythm. The third and fourth lines within a limerick will rhyme too!

A limerick contains just one stanza, a group of lines within a poem, much like a verse within a song. When discussing the way that poems rhyme, we often refer to it as a rhyming scheme. In the case of the limerick, the rhyming plan is AABBA.

Limerick’s poems are usually fun poems designed with humor, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. They are sometimes read quite quickly, and the final line is designed to make people laugh.

What is the origin of the limerick poems?

The origin of the limerick is not defined. However, it is suggested that the name is derived from the place in Ireland, also called Limerick, and referred to an old-style parlor game that

The first limericks were written in the early 1700s and were often used in folk songs. However, the father of the limerick is Edward Lear, the famous British poet. He popularized the first limerick poem even if he didn’t write it. His limericks are considered to be the best ones. Most of them tell the story of an older man, just like this one:

There was an Old Man in a tree,

Who was bored by a bee?

When they said, “Does it buzz?”

He replied, “Yes, it does!

It’s a regular brute of a bee.”

(There was an Old Man in a tree, by Edward Lear)

What are the features of a limerick poem?

  • Lines 1, 2, and 5 verse.
  • Lines 3 and 4 verse.
  • The rhyming pattern is AABBA
  • Lines 1, 2, and 5 are longer and have approximately the same number of syllables (usually 8-10) in each.
  • Lines 3 and 4 are shorter, with the same number of syllables (5-6).
  • The first line sets up the subject, so it usually ends with the name of a person or place.
  • The second line gives more details about the subject.
  • Lines 3 and 4 give us some action about the subject.
  • The last line is the punchline, usually the consequences of lines 3 and 4.

Examples of limerick poems

Here are some more examples of limerick poems written by Edward Lear:

There was an Old Man who said, ‘Hush!

I perceive a young bird in this bush!’

When they said, ‘Is it small?’

He replied, ‘Not at all!

It is four times as big as the bush!’

(Limerick No. 80, from A Book of Nonsense, by Edward Lear)

There was a Young Lady of Dorking,

Who bought a large bonnet for walking;

But it’s color and size,

So bedazzled her eyes,

That she very soon went back to Dorking

(There was a Young Lady of Dorking, by Edward Lear)

There was a Young Person from Crete,

Whose toilette was far from complete;

She dressed in a sack,

Speckle-speckled with black,

That ombliferous person of Crete.

(There was a Young Person of Crete, by Edward Lear)

If you liked Lear’s limerick poems, we’ve also created some for you:


There once was a teacher in school,

Who thought, “I am nobody’s fool.”

She searched for the lovely Twinkl,

For resources to sprinkle,

And now her classroom looks so cool!


There was an old Martian named Zed

With blue spots all over his head.

He sent out a lot

Of di-di-dash-dot-dot

But nobody knows what he said!


I’m writing this verse for my Dad,

I hope it will make him quite glad,

And if he gets sick,

In this limerick,

It’ll prove that I’m poetry mad!

How to write a good limerick poem?

Writing can be double fun if you plan to create a limerick with your little learners. We are sure they’ll enjoy putting their ideas together and creating an amusing poem to read and show others. Here are six simple steps to have in mind when writing a limerick poem or when you teach your children to do it:

  1. Find a narrative – Like any other poem, the limerick poem has to tell a story, has a main character, or have a theme. Think of a limerick poem as a concise story.
  1. The subject should come first – The first verse should introduce the main character or the topic you chose for your poem. Always start a limerick poem with the issue. For example, you can pick a name for your character or use your own and find words that rhyme with it. You’ll see what amusing poem you can come up with.
  1. Don’t be afraid to be silly – After introducing the character or the theme, you can let your imagination run free. Limericks are meant to be a bit silly and playful so that you can get creative with your humor.
  1. End with a twist – If you want to get some good laughs with your limerick, you should end with a plot twist. This is like the punch line of a joke everyone is waiting for, so don’t keep them waiting!
  1. Always follow the rhyme scheme – You can pick any topic for your limerick and have as much fun as you want, but remember to always stick to the AABBA rhyme scheme and the limerick’s rhythm. Check a dictionary for ideas if you need to find some words to rhyme.
  1. Read your creation out loud – The easiest way to find out if your limerick poem has the proper rhyme scheme is by reading it out loud. If writing was fun, imagine how much fun you will have to hear your masterpiece. Once it passes your test, the limerick poem is ready to be read in front of other people!
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