Definition: Nonsensical verse of five lines. Lines 1,2, and 5 rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 rhyme. The style is termed as "aabba" or referred to as being anapestic which means 2 short syllables followed by a long one. Limericks contain puns or wordplay.

Origin: It is said that rhyme did not exist until the 14th century. (Guess they were pretty grouchy up until that time?) The man who is credited with inventing the limerick is named Edward Lear (1812-1888) an English humorist and painter. He wrote and illustrated "A Book of Nonsense" (1846, 1861, 1863) and "Nonsense Songs" (1871, 1872, 1877). The limerick-style today doesn't exist much because we have other forms of entertainment (mostly using obscenity, horror and Sci-Fi) as their content. There seems to be a lack of simple, plain silliness mocking life in today's world as the foundation for humor and entertainment. Limericks, particularly Irish ones, can also be a bit bawdy. Those seemed to originate with the idea of who can be the wittier drunk in a pub? :) We don't offer any of those! Ours are all rated "PG" = Pure Giggles.


We hope you enjoy this plain and simple old-fashion humor!

(This page has no music because we didn't want it to interrupt the word rhythm.)



Excerpts from "10,000 Jokes, Toasts & Stories"
A Mammoth Encyclopedia of Wit and Humor
Edited by Lewis & Faye Copeland
Copyrights 1939, 1940 and 1965
Doubleday & Company, Inc.

 Plus, many other sources!

Rather than put these in a grid and condense, I felt it would be more whimsical to let them string line by line to keep with the flow and create some sense of surprise! So be prepared to scroll. :)




A certain young fellow named Bee-Bee
Wished to wed a woman named Phoebe.
"But," he said, "I must see
What the clerical fee
Be before Phoebe be Phoebe Bee-Bee


There was a young man so benighted
He never knew when he was slighted;
He would go to a party
And eat just as hearty,
As if he'd been really invited.



A maiden at college, Miss Breeze,
Weighed down by B.A.s and Lit.D's,
Collapsed from the strain,
Said her doctor, "It's plain
You are killing yourself --- by degrees!"



 A painter, who lived in Great Britain,
Interrupted two girls with their knittin'
He said, with a sigh,
"That park bench--well I
Just painted it, right where you're sittin.'"


A canner, exceedingly canny,
One morning remarked to his granny,
"A canner can can
Anything that he can;
But a canner can't can a can, can he?"


Here's to the chigger,
The bug that's no bigger
Than the point of an undersized pin;
But the welt that he raises
Sure itches like blazes,
And that's where the rub comes in!


A silly young man from Clyde
In a funeral procession was spied;
When asked, "Who is dead?"
He giggled and said,
"I don't know; I just came for the ride."


There was a young lady of Cork,
Whose Pa made a fortune in pork;
He bought for his daughter
A tutor who taught her
To balance green peas on her fork.


A mouse in her room woke Miss Dowd
She was frightened--it must be allowed.
Soon a happy thought hit her --
To scare off the critter,
She sat up in bed and meowed.


There was a young woman named Kite,
Whose speed was much faster than light,
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night.


There was a dear lady of Eden,
Who on apples was quite fond of feedin';
She gave one to Adam,
Who said, "Thank you, Madam,"
And then both skedaddled from Eden.


Said an envious, crudite ermine,
"There's one thing I cannot determine;
When a dame wears my coat,
She's a person of note;
When I wear it, I'm called a vermine!"


A canny young fisher named Fisher
Once fished from the edge of a fissure.
A fish with a grin
Pulled the fisherman in ---
Now they're fishing the fissure for Fisher.


A newspaper man named Fling
Could make "copy" from any old thing.
But the copy he wrote
Of a five dollar note
Was so good he is now in Sing Sing.


A flea and a fly in a flue,
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, "Let us flee!"
"Let us fly," said the flea,
And they flew through a flaw in the flue.


A tutor who tooted a flute
Tried to teach two young tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor,
"Is it harder to toot, or.."
"To tutor two tutors to toot?"


A major, with wonderful force,
Called out in Hyde Park for a horse.
All the flowers looked round,
But no horse could be found;
So he just rhododendron, of course.


There was an old fellow named Green,
Who grew so abnormally lean,
And flat, and compressed,
That his back touched his chest,
And sideways he couldn't be seen.


There was a young lady named Hannah,
Who slipped on a peel of banana.
As she lay on her side,
More stars she espied
Than there are in the Star-Spangled Banner.


The Sultan got sore on his harem,
And invented a scheme for to scare 'em;
He caught him a mouse
Which he loosed in the house
(The confusion is called harem-scarem.)


A nifty young flapper named Jane
While walking was caught in the rain.
She ran--almost flew,
Her complexion did too,
And she reached home exceedingly plain.


There was an old man in a hearse,
Who murmured, "This might have been worse;
Of course the expense
Is simply immense,
But it doesn't come out of my purse."


"There's a train at 4:04," said Miss Jenny.
"Four tickets I'll take; have you any?"
Said the man at the door,
"Not four for 4:04,
For four for 4:04 is too many."


There was a young lady of Kent,
Whose nose was most awfully bent.
She followed her nose
One day, I suppose --
And no one knows which way she went.


There was a young lady of Lynn,
Who was so excessively thin,
That when she assayed
To drink lemonade
She slipped through the straw and fell in.


There was a young lady named May,
Who read a love story each day.
"It's funny," she said,
When at least she was wed;
"I didn't think life was this way."


A man and his lady-love, Min,
Skated out where the ice was quite thin,
Had a quarrel, no doubt,
For I hear they fell out;
What a blessing they didn't fall in!


There was a young lady of Munich,
Whose appetite simply was unich,
"There's nothing like a food,"
She contentedly cooed,
As she let out three tucks in her tunic.


There was an old man of Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket;
But his daughter, named Nan
Ran away with a man --
And as far as the bucket, Nantucket.


There was a young lady from Niger,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They came back from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.


There once was a guy named Othello,
A dark, disagreeable fellow;
After croaking his wife,
Then he took his own life ---
That bird wasn't black, he was yellow!


There was a young lady named Perkins,
Who just simply doted on gherkins.
In spite of advice,
She ate so much spice,
That she pickled her internal workins'.


As a beauty I am not a star,
There are others more handsome by far;
But my face -- I don't mind it,
For I am behind it;
It's the people in front that I jar.


To compose a sonata today,
Don't proceed in the old-fashioned way:
With your toes on the keys,
Bang the floor with your knees:
"Oh how modern!" the critics will say.


Here lies a young salesman named Phipps,
Who married on one of his trips,
A widow named Block,
Then died of the shock,
When he saw there were six little chips.


I'd rather have Fingers than Toes;
I'd rather have Ears than a Nose;
And as for my Hair,
I'm glad it's all there:
I'll be awfully said, when it goes.


There was a young fellow named Weir,
Who hadn't an atom of fear.
He indulged a desire
To touch a live wire.
(Most any last line will do here!)


A cheerful old bear at the Zoo
Could always find something to do.
When it bored him, you know,
To walk to and fro,
He reversed it and walked fro and to.


The bottle of perfume that Willie sent
Was highly displeasing to Millicent;
Her thanks were so cold
They quarreled, I'm told,
Through that silly scent Willie sent Millicent.


There was a young person called Smarty,
Who sent out his cards for a party;
So exclusive and few
Were the friends that he knew
That no one was present but Smarty.


It filled Galileo with mirth
To watch his two rocks fall to Earth.

He gladly proclaimed,
"Their rates are the same,

And quite independent of girth!"


Then Newton announced in due course
His own law of gravity's force:

"It goes, I declare,
As the inverted square

Of the distance from object to source."


But remarkably, Einstein's equation
Succeeds to describe gravitation

As spacetime that's curved,
And it's this that will serve

As the planets' unique motivation.


Yet the end of the story's not written;
By a new way of thinking we're smitten.

We twist and we turn,
Attempting to learn

The Superstring Theory of Witten!


An elderly bride of Port Jervis
Was quite understandable nervis.
Since her apple-cheeked groom,
With three wives in the tomb,
Kept insuring her during the service.


A flea and a fly in a flue,

Were caught, so what could they do?

Said the fly, "Let us flee."

"Let us fly," said the flea.

So they flew through a flaw in the flue.


I bought a new Hoover today,
Plugged it in in the usual way,

Switched it on - what a din;
It sucked everything in,

Now I'm homeless with no place to stay. 


There once was an old man of Esser,

Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser,

It at last grew so small

He knew nothing at all

And now he's a college professor.


There was a young lady from Hyde,
Who ate a green apple and died.

While her lover lamented,
The apple fermented,

And made cider inside her inside.


A crossword compiler named Moss
Who found himself quite at a loss

When asked, 'Why so blue?'
Said, 'I haven't a clue

I'm 2 Down to put 1 Across.'


An artistic young man called Bo,
To an art class decided to go.

The teacher said, "Nnot right
Your page is all white!"

Bo said, "It is a polar bear in snow."


I'm papering walls in the loo
And quite frankly I haven't a clue;

For the pattern's all wrong
(Or the paper's too long)

And I'm stuck to the toilet with glue.


The shoes of old Eskimo Joe
Fell apart as he walked in the snow.

"Have you needle and thread?"

I enquired, but he said,

"No, igloo them not sew them, you know."


Tis a favorite project of mine,

A new value of pi to assign.

I would fix it at 3,

For it's simpler, you see,

Than 3 point 1 4 1 5 9


There once was a girl named Irene,

who lived on distilled kerosene.

But she started absorbin'

A new hydrocarbon,

And since then has never benzene!


A mosquito was heard to complain,
'A chemist has poisoned my brain!'

The cause of his sorrow
was paradichloro-



Is it me or the nature of money
That's odd and peculiar? Funny,

But when I have dough
It goes quickly, you know,

And seeps out of my pockets like honey.


There was an old man with a beard
Who said, "It's just as I feared!

Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren

Are making a nest in my beard!"


At 16 I sighed as I hoped
For a bike like a Harley. I groped

In my pocket for cash
And bought something less flash;

Then I sat on my moped and moped.


Remember when nearly sixteen
On your very first date as a teen

At the movies? If yes,
Then I bet you can't guess

What was shown on the cinema screen. 


The incredible Wizard of Oz

Retired from his business becoz

Due to up-to-date science,

To most of his clients,

He wasn't the Wizard he woz.


Said an envious, erudite ermine,

"There's one thing I cannot determine:

When a girl wears my coat,

She's a person of note.

When I wear it, I'm called only vermin."


There was an old person of Fratton
Who would go to church with his hat on.

'If I wake up,' he said,
'With a hat on my head,

I will know that it hasn't been sat on.'


Limericks I cannot compose
With noxious smells in my nose;

But this one was easy
I only felt queasy

Because I was sniffing my toes.


 Amazingly, antelope stew
Is supposedly better for you

Than a goulash of rat
Or Hungarian cat;

But I guess that you probably gnu.


My neighbor came over to say
(Although not in a neighborly way)

That he'd knock me around
If I didn't curb the sound

Of the classical music I play.


I told him, "Get out of my place
You're an utter uncultured disgrace;

You're a simpleton loon.

Don't you know a good tune?"

Then he walloped me square in the face.


A young gourmet dining at Crewe

Found a rather large mouse in his stew.

Said the waiter, "Don't shout

And wave it about,

Or the rest will be wanting one, too."


There was a young man from Dealing
Who caught the bus for Ealing.

It said on the door
'Don't spit on the floor'

So he jumped up and spat on the ceiling


As 007 walked by
He heard a wee spider say, "Hi."

But shaken, he shot
It right there on the spot

As it tried to explain, "I'm a spi ..."


There was a young dentist who thrilled
To the sound of a tooth being filled;

He would practise, they said
Every night in his shed ..

With the old Black & Decker ' he's skilled.


A motor mechanic named Fox
Got crushed between cylinder blocks.

They laid him to rest
In his boots and his vest

With his spanner and jack in the box.


One Saturday morning at three
A cheesemonger's shop in Paree

Collapsed to the ground
With a thunderous sound

Leaving only a pile of de brie.

'It's crescent shaped rolls that I want' 
Cooed the shapely, urbane debutante.
        'Didn't rush off to town
        And just scarf 1 Down;
I relaxed when I 8 Across aunt.' 


An elderly man called Keith

Mislaid his set of false teeth -

They'd been laid on a chair,

He'd forgot they were there,

Sat down, and was bitten beneath.



There was a young lady named Harris

Whom nothing could ever embarrass

'Til the salts that she shook

In the bath that she took

Turned out to be Plaster of Paris.


I'm really determined and keen
To start giving this house a spring clean.

I will do it I say,
Yes, I'll do it today ...

Well, I'll do it tomorrow, I mean. 


I've done it; I've done mown the lawn,
But my muscles are aching and torn.

I could swear there are some

In my legs and my bum

I've not used since the year I was born.


Said an ape as he swung by his tail,

To his offspring both female and male,

"From your offspring, my dears,

In a couple of years,

May evolve a professor at Yale."


A he-melon suffering droop
Spied a she-melon round as a hoop;

And he beamed as he said,
"Come away, let's be wed."

But she sighed and she said, "Canteloupe."


There was a young lady named Rose

Who had a large wart on her nose.

When she had it removed

Her appearance improved,

But her glasses slipped down to her toes.


This limerick's simply sublime
And inspiring in meter and rhyme;

It expresses but nought
With intelligent thought

And to write it used acres of time.


There once was a fly on the wall

I wonder why didn't it fall

Because its feet stuck

Or was it just luck

Or does gravity miss things so small?


A long time ago an old Squire
Met a pretty young lass in a choir

And said, "Miss, can we dance?"
But she told him, "No chance;

For I fear that I'm Handel's miss, sire."


There was a young fellow called Binn

Who was so excessively thin

That when he essayed

To drink lemonade

He slipped through the straw and fell in.


I need a front door for my hall;
The replacement I bought was too tall.

So I hacked it and chopped it
And carefully lopped it;

And now the dumb thing is too small. 


An odd-looking guy from Beruit
Held up banks in a bright-yellow suit;

More bizarre though by far,
He would wave a cigar

And shout, "Freeze there, or else I'll cheroot."


There was an old man from Milan,
Whose limericks never would scan.

When told this was so,
He said, 'yes, I know.

'But I always try to get as many syllables into the last line as I possibly can.'




A lady walked from the Tallahassee Bay,
To the shore and looked down in dismay,
The ground was itchy. 
It made her twitchy.
For the ground was covered in hay. 

Farrah Ball Age 10


 How about trying to write some limericks for today's times?

Here's an example:

There once was a man from Riverdale,
Whose cable TV one day did fail.
He said, "Gosh! Darn! Oh Pooh!
Now what shall I do?"
So he wrote to his brother at Yale.


For more word fun visit our Pages...

Enjoy some very strange words from our past; or, ones very seldom used today.

What is an anagam?
Visit this page to find out.

What is a malapropism?
Visit this page to find out.

What is a palindrome?
Visit this page to find out.

Limericks for kids and written by children.

Need some Valentine Limericks? Then visit our Valentine section.

Phrases just slip into our language.
Get passed down for generations.
And do we ever know why?
Learn a bit about why you say what you say.


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