Word for Wednesday: Limerick

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March 21 marks World Poetry Day and to celebrate we’ve chosen poetry for this month’s Word for Wednesday theme.
The word poetry dates to the late-fourteenth century and comes from the Old French ‘poetrie’, from the Latin ‘poeta’. 

Last week, we looked at the word sonnet, today’s word is limerick

A limerick is a humorous poem made up of five lines that follows the AABBA rhyme scheme. It is also the name of a port city in southwestern Ireland.

The word, in reference to the poem, dates to 1896, but it is unclear if it is linked to Limerick in Ireland. One theory suggests that the name comes from the chorus ‘Will you come up to Limerick?’ which was sung between rounds in a party game in which participants made up nonsense verses. Another theory is that the word comes from ‘Learic’, after the poet Edward Lear popularised the form. 

The name of the city means ‘bare ground’ and comes from the Irish ‘Liumneach’, from ‘lom’ meaning 'bare' or 'thin'.

09 Mar 2022
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