There Once was a Girl from Nantucket – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did you arrive at a pub on a tour of a local area to find everyone singing, “there once was a girl from Nantucket?” What is the meaning and origin of this limerick? Let’s unpack it for you in this post.


There once was a girl from Nantucket” is a limerick talking about a girl that didn’t have her fare. It’s a story of a blessed man and his carefree attitude to life. You’ll use the phrase in public, typically in an X-rated format, to tell someone that you don’t care about what they are saying or a task you are doing.

Most people assume that poetry is a part of elitist culture. However, the limerick is the common man’s version of poetry. Many British and Irish communities would gather in pubs to sing and drink, and limericks were common for the crowd to sing to unite them in good times.

The limerick has a rhyming structure. However, they have a reputation for rhyming bad language and have a reputation for being uncouth, as it’s the case with our limerick for “there once was a girl from Nantucket.”

Example Usage

There are dozens of examples of rhyming the last word in the limerick.

However, most of them are explicit language, and we doubt you want to hear any of them.

When using the limerick as X-rated humor, you pick words that rhyme with “bucket.”


The exact origin of this limerick remains unknown. According to language experts, the use of the limerick extends back to the late 18th century. However, it would only appear in print for the first time in the work of 19th century author Edward Lear.

The earliest published work making use of the limerick appeared in 1902. “The Princeton Tiger” by Prof. Dayton Voorhees shows us the following.

There once was a man from Nantucket

Who kept all his cash in a bucket.

But his daughter named Nan,

Ran away with a man

And as for the bucket, Nantucket.”

Since the original use of the phrase, it underwent several changes and alterations into many versions. It’s a common limerick, and many people know it and use it hundreds of years later.

There once was a man from Nantucket” would turn into a staple of American humor, featuring on TV shows like The Simpsons, Suits, Hey Arnold! or Gravity Falls. The Urban Dictionary listed the limerick for the first time in 2006.

Phrases Similar to There Once was a Girl from Nantucket

  • There once was a man from Nantucket.

Phrases Opposite to There Once was a Girl from Nantucket

  • Unknown.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • There once was a girl from Nantucket.

Ways People May Say There Once was a Girl from Nantucket Incorrectly

Using limericks like “there once was a Girl from Nantucket” at work or in professional settings may get you in trouble or cause you to lose respect with the management. Since most sayings are explicit, they may also classify themselves as misogynistic. As a result, using the explicit and misogynistic versions of the limerick on social platforms could land you in a lot of trouble with the “woke” mob.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase There Once was a Girl from Nantucket

You can use “there once was a Girl from Nantucket” in several social situations. Usually, you rhyme the limerick with other similar explicit words. Therefore, it’s best to use it in environments where you aren’t offending other people around you.

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