Limerick Form and History Quiz

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the rhyme scheme of a limerick?

What is the standard form of a limerick?

What is the meter of a limerick?

What is the origin of the name 'Limerick'?

What did Gershon Legman believe about the true limerick as a folk form?

What is the traditional subject matter of the first line of a limerick?

What is a common feature of the stress in the first line of a limerick?

What is the internal rhyme, alliteration, or assonance in a limerick?

Who popularized the limerick form in the 19th century?


Limerick Form and History

  • Limerick is a form of verse, usually humorous and rude, in five-line, predominantly trimeter with a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA.
  • The first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, while the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other.
  • The form appeared in England in the early 18th century and was popularized by Edward Lear in the 19th century.
  • Gershon Legman held that the true limerick as a folk form is always obscene, while the clean limerick is a "periodic fad and object of magazine contests, rarely rising above mediocrity".
  • The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth rhyming with one another and having three feet of three syllables each.
  • The shorter third and fourth lines also rhyme with each other, but have only two feet of three syllables.
  • The first line traditionally introduces a person and a place, with the place appearing at the end of the first line and establishing the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines.
  • Ordinary speech stress is often distorted in the first line, and may be regarded as a feature of the form.
  • Many limericks show some form of internal rhyme, alliteration or assonance, or some element of word play.
  • The name Limerick for this type of poem may derive from a form of nonsense verse parlour game that traditionally included a refrain that included "Will [or won't] you come (up) to Limerick?"
  • Edward Lear wrote 212 limericks, mostly considered nonsense literature.
  • The limerick form has been parodied in many ways and has been blended with reviews of popular films, creating so-called "filmericks".


Think you know the history and structure of limericks? Test your knowledge with our Limerick Form and History quiz! From the strict rhyme scheme to the origins of the name, this quiz will challenge your understanding of this humorous and often-rude form of poetry. Get ready to flex your poetic muscles and discover new insights into the world of limericks.

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