There Once Was a Man from Nantucket


What does There Once Was a Man from Nantucket mean?

There once was a man from Nantucket refers to the popular opening line of many limericks, most of which are widely known as indecent and profane.

The word Nantucket can be used to create ribald rhymes as well as puns.

The opening line is so well known, that the whole limerick doesn’t even need to be said, as people know what’s coming (the man from Nantucket).


What's the origin of There Once Was a Man from Nantucket?

The documented case of the line comes from a 1902 issue of the Princeton Tiger, written by Professor Dayton Voorhees.

The trope was continued by many sequel limericks, appearing in later issues of the humor magazine.

Over the years, it was reimagined in more and more profane and dirty ways, making the “man from Nantucket” do all sorts of nastiness.

Spread & Usage

How did There Once Was a Man from Nantucket spread?

“There once was a man from Nantucket” would later turn into a true staple of American humor, recited by droll dads and chuckling kids alike.

It is often referenced in popular culture, like songs or shows, including Logic’s collaboration with Eminem, titled Homicide, as well as The Simpsons, Suits, Hey Arnold! or Gravity Falls.

It was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2006.

External resources

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