Favorite Limericks


Pelicans can hold up to three gallons of water in their bill, but only 1 gallon in their stomach, which is the equivalent of about 24 lbs in the bill to 8 lbs in the stomach. If the pelican catches more fish in its bill than it can fit in the stomach, then the excess is stored in its esophagus.

Dixon Lanier Merritt wrote this poem in 1910 about pelicans.

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!

His bill holds more than his belican.

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week.

But I’m darned if I know how the helican.

This made me smile. Do you have a favorite limerick or other memorable story or phrase that makes you smile?


46 thoughts on “Favorite Limericks

  1. Here’s a clean one.

    There once was a vicar at Kew
    Who kept his pet cat in a pew.
    He taught it to speak
    alphabetical Greek,
    but it never got farther than µ.

  2. I don’t have a favorite limerick and I’m not creative enough to think one up. However I love the child’s story Corduroy. And for phrases, any one-liner from Seinfeld will make me laugh – “the sea was angry that day my friends.”

  3. I had to ask the google for one:

    The limerick packs laughs anatomical
    Into space that is quite economical.
    But the good ones I’ve seen
    So seldom are clean
    And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

  4. An amoeba named Max and his brother
    Were sharing a drink with each other
    In the midst of their quaffing
    They split themselves laughing
    And each of them now is a mother

  5. a day late, but congrats to LfB’s DD. It really takes a load off of her just to know the option is there.

  6. MY kids always enjoyed this limerick:
    There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
    Each thought there was one cat too many.
    So they fought and they fit and they scratched and they bit
    Till excepting their nails and the tips of their tails,
    Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.

    And we like pretty much anything by Ogden Nash:

    O Kangaroo, O Kangaroo,
    Be grateful that you’re in the zoo.
    And not transmuted by a boomerang
    To zestful tangy Kangaroo meringue.

  7. Oh I loved Corduroy. It was read a lot at our house. I’m no poet, but I just read this that I thought was inspiring and true.
    “If you want to overcome fear, get lost a little bit.”

  8. I am horrible at remembering these things. But my library just got “The Sneetches,” and I read it to myself this morning, and now I am happier. Really thinking I should have named the three-legged toothless wonder-cat Sylvester McMonkey McBean.

  9. There was a Young Lady whose chin Resembled the point of a pin;
    So she had it made sharp, and purchased a harp, And played several tunes with her chin.

  10. tcmama – I know… I’m in a black hole of their publications. I need to finish work but I just want to sit here and laugh.

  11. I don’t know any clean limericks. My kids always say this to each other. It always makes me smile.
    “Do you like my hat?”
    “No, I do not like your hat.”

  12. We are memorizing a lot of Shakespeare this year in our homeschool. This is mostly because it entertains me to make my children perform like trained monkeys for people who haven’t memorized Shakespeare. Just kidding. Their brains are growing and almost ready for calculus.

    Jack shall have Jill; Naught shall go ill. The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.

  13. Ada, the musical setting of that is probably the prettiest tune in Britten’s version of Midsummer Night’s Dream. (One of my offspring was in the fairy chorus for that so I got to know the music well.)

    I often find cause to recite this Ogden Nash one:

    The truth I do not stretch or shove
    When I state that the dog is full of love.
    I’ve also found, by actual test,
    A wet dog is the lovingest.

    A limerick-related anecdote: In our salad days my cousins and sibs and I liked to make our own movies when we were all together during the summer. Once we did two versions of a scene from the 80s version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. First was a straight version of Sir Percival Blakeney (the fop who is secretly the Scarlet Pimpernel) reciting his short poem about the Scarlet Pimpernel to an admiring crowd of fancy party-goers. Then we did a parody version that started out as the same scene, but the poem instead began “There once was a man from Nantucket.” Then the party-goers interrupted to ask for music instead of boring poems, started up a boombox, and began dancing (1980s style, not 1780s style).

  14. Tragically that classic was lost a few years later when my aunt accidentally recorded Alf over it.

  15. Ada, this is what I recite to DD on the bouncy teeter-totter.
    Up and down, up and down,
    I will lead them up and down.
    I am feared in field and town.
    Goblin, lead them up and down.

  16. Related to the topic, what family phrases have you picked up from things your kids said when little or other sources?

    Once when my youngest was much smaller, I asked him “But WHY did you [whatever the latest atrocity was]?! He responded, “I did it fo a weason.” What reason was never explained. Ever since then my husband and I, and to a lesser extent the kids, will use it in response to those “But why would you?” question.

    Another one, also relating to my youngest: a couple of years ago we were staying in a national park lodge and eating dinner at the fancy-ish lodge restaurant. Kid had ordered salmon, and on being asked what he’d like to drink with it, put on a considering look and said, “I’ll have the hot chocolate, please.” The waiter, with a straight face, replied, “Excellent choice, sir.” We all snickered at this (we were laughing with him, not at him!) and since then like to use “Excellent choice, sir” for similar displays of cultured tastes.

  17. My family of origin had a million family phrases, but I don’t think DH and I have too many from DSS. He used to say highly-seasoned food was “too picy”, so we have that one. He also went through a phase of saying the word “Pontiac”, pronounced “PON tiac”, so when DH and I happen to see a Pontiac that’s what we say. When I was little I called helicopters “hoppy copters” so my mom always used that.

  18. There are quite a few porcupines in our area and the kids call them “porky pines.” Also, when the oldest was pretty little, we used to show him youtube videos of tractors because that was something he was into. When the video was loading, he’d say, “it’s woading.” So whenever a video is loading we say that. There is a book that my younger son likes called Vernon Is On His Way, where one animal says to Vernon, “you have a butterfly on your head.” And Vernon says, “Oh, I don’t think so, but thank you.” And my son really loves that. When I want to make him smile, I say, “you have a butterfly on your head,” and he says the reply.

  19. GFM, that’s so adorable!

    Another one: When DSS was about 22 months old, he climbed up on DH’s lap and then stood up, balancing on DH’s thighs, and said (with some amazement) “Taller than Daddy!” So when something is tall, or just high up off the ground, we say “Taller than Daddy!”

  20. My DS’s current favorite phrase from his English teacher “there’s no great writing, only rewriting” said over and over as they painfully make their way through draft after draft of essay writing.

  21. Probably our most famous family saying came from my stepdad, who at one point was trying to chastise one of us for making a mess while eating and got himself a little twisted up and said something like “you’re getting crumbs on your food!” So that has been our phrase for eating messily for like 40 years – careful, or you’ll get crumbs on your food.

    He also brought the “think pink” game to the family, where you try to get someone to guess a rhyme based on a description — e.g., what’s a think pink for an obese feline? Fat cat. And then of course there were thinky pinkies (2-syllables), thinkety-pinketies, think-e-ditty pinkeditties, and so on. And of course the more obscure the better (“fat cat” would have gotten you laughed right out).

    The one that I miss from the toddler years was “lellow.” That was the last word that DD struggled with, and when she actually figured out the “y,” I was sad.

  22. ““Do you like my hat?”
    “No, I do not like your hat.”

    I love this. : )

  23. We have many family phrases. They’re silly and mostly meaningless except to us. Once at a Italian ice stand my H asked what flavor the blue colored ice was. The cranky guy told him it “tastes like blue”. That’s our catch phrase for describing how a food tastes. It has to be said with a thick Bronx accent, in a surly tone insinuating that you’re an idiot if you don’t know what blue tastes like.

    Did you like my new spaghetti sauce recipe? It tastes like blue.
    Is the ramen tasty? It tastes like blue.
    How’s the coconut margarita? It tastes like blue.

  24. Totally off topic – I realize I have to grow up ! I am looking at smart cute clothes, shoes, outerwear for my kids and wondering if I can still get away wearing the cool stuff. DD appears both horrified and amused.

  25. Off topic – I need some dinner ideas. Basketball starts for our boys next week, and we have one that has practice 5:30 – 7:00, and another that has practice 7:00 – 8:30. I’m trying to make a list of dinners that I can cook once, and it can stay on the stove or in the oven and people can eat as they come and go. So far I have:

    Tomato soup with grilled cheese

    And now I’m drawing a blank. One of my kids doesn’t like pasta (? WTF) so all the easy pasta casseroles are out.

  26. Crockpot, Lark. Crockpot with a High/Low/Warm dial. Bowl of salad in the fridge.

    There’s a food truck in Denver called The Crock Spot. They have a build-a-bowl formula that is popular. Here’s their menu. I have found that if you google “crock pot” or “slow cooker” and those recipe names, you can find almost all of them. If everyone likes rice, just use rice as the base.



    Thai Jasmine Fried Rice V, GF
    Fluffy Cous Cous V
    Hearty Pearled Barley V
    Quinoa (power grain) V, GF
    Cilantro Lime Rice V, GF
    Hoppin John V, GF
    Caraway Potatoes V, GF
    Healthy Grain Combo V


    Savory Pulled Pork GF
    Jalapeno Shredded Beef GF
    Turkey Cardamom Meatballs
    Juicy Shredded Chicken GF
    Duck Confit GF
    Southwestern Chicken with Black Beans GF
    Chicken with Mushrooms GF
    Herb Roasted Lamb GF
    Cheddar Roasted Beef GF
    Apple Glazed Pork Loin GF
    Bonzai Pork GF
    Surf N Turf GF
    Irish Corned Beef GF
    Sage Roasted Turkey GF

    Vegetarian and Vegan Proteins

    Coconut Root Veggie Curry V
    Curried Lentils with Hominy V
    Southwestern Bean Medley V
    Beet Nut Balls V
    Celtic White Bean Stew GF, V


    Chimichurri V, GF
    Sriracha Sour Cream V, GF
    Cuban Mojo V, GF
    Playa FireV, GF
    Fresh Basil Tzatziki V, GF
    Estaban Yucatan Fire V, GF
    Avocado Velvet V, GF
    Miso Honey V, GF
    Hosin Habenero V, GF
    Mandys Mistake V, GF
    Balsamic gastrique V, GF
    Fresh Herb Mustard V, GF
    Boursin Cheese V, GF
    Gado Gado V, GF

  27. @Lark – There is a cookbook called “The Dinner Plan” by the people who wrote Keepers. They have all the recipes categorized by “Easy, One-Pan, etc” and one of the categories is “Staggered”. It says which recipes can hold for staggered family dinner times & says the best way to hold it. (e.g., on low heat in the oven, cover with foil & still tastes good at room temp, etc)

    My go-to in your situation would be tacos. (just rewarm the meat & leave the toppings for the second dinner crew)

  28. Lark – Consider substituting rice for pasta but otherwise keeping the dish the same. Rice, chicken/beef, veggie, sauce (curry, tomato, sweet n sour, etc. etc.). Filling and the sauce keeps the dish longer, preventing it from drying out.

  29. Thank you for all the great suggestions! I just added that book to my Amazon cart. “Staggered” is exactly the word I was looking for. Thank you!!

  30. Corduroy was one of our favorites as well. Not only for the story and pacing, but for the beautiful artwork.

    DD has decided that she loves rice bowls. It’s been fairly easy to cook and keep brown rice and a protein in the fridge. I bought some black sesame seeds and a green onion sauce, which we all love. A fried egg is a quick add-on for a nice change. I have gone so far as cooking a few fried eggs at a time and leaving them in the fridge, too.

    If your kids are taco fans and you keep soft tortillas around, you can add a fried egg with some cheese and salsa for a quick dinner.

  31. Re: McSweeny’s, a rabbit hole for sure! I knew things had changed in our house when I could share one of the articles there with DS, he was maybe 16 or 17, and he snorted with laughter.

  32. Regretfully the pasta-avoider also does not like rice. Or even really bread. In general, it’s hard to get carbs into him and he’s my one that can get too skinny during b’ball season. But I got excellent suggestions here last season and I’m going to be much more proactive on the calories this season.

  33. Lark – other pasta/rice replacements – polenta, grains like wheatberry, couscous, grits, and our recent go to favorite – gnocchi.

  34. Lark,

    Baked potatoes will cook/hold in a crockpot. Wrap them in foil in the morning, put the crockpot on low and sometime in the evening they are done.

    Also, a tritip, pork tenderlion, or other boneless 2-3 pounds of meat, put in the crockpot on low with some sort of seasoning blend from crockpot makes a nice protien base for tacos, all of whose other fillings can be staged and kept in the fridge.

  35. Baked potatoes in the crockpot? Headslap. Of course.

    Thank you. Crockpot baked potatoes will be used this winter in our house. We will raise our potato and pulled pork laden forks and toast the good people on this blog.

  36. Lark, things like soups, stews, and curries also lend themselves to being prepared once and kept warm until everyone’s done eating.

    I’m partial to Portuguese bean soup. The macaroni and potatoes would help with your DS’ carb intake.

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