“Pop Goes the Weasel” is a nursery rhyme originating in England.

It is one of the more popular singing games. Although the first written records of the song date back to the mid 19th century, it is believed that the origins of the song go back to the 18th century England.

Meaning

There are many known versions of Pop Goes the Weasel. Currently there are two different popular versions in use in the UK and in the USA. The original version of the song (published in the 1850’s) is featured below:

Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop! goes the weasel.

There is much debate regarding the meaning of this rhyme. It is widely believed that the Eagle mentioned in the song refers to the Eagle Tavern near the City Road in North London. Thus, it is easy to assume that originally, the song refers to drinking at the Eagle Tavern. However, there are plenty of theories about the meaning of the last verse, which gives the song’s title as well.

It is possible that pop refers to pawns, and thus the lyrics would mean to drink until there’s no money left so people pawn their suits to grab more money (weasel may mean suit in the slang of Cockney, a slang that often used rhymes as a speech form).

Another supposition is that the weasel refers to the small mammal predator named weasel, and they indeed pop their heads when bothered.

Whatever the original meaning of the song was, when it became popular in the USA in the 1850’s, the phrase “Pop Goes the Weasel” was used as “just like that”.

The dance was very popular in England too; there are two references that Queen Victoria used to play it at the balls organized by the Court.

Even today, there are plenty of variations of the lyrics. Below, you will find the two most popular versions of them. First, the version more popular in the UK. The second version is most popular in the USA.

“Pop Goes the Weasel” Lyrics

British version of the song:
Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

Up and down the City road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

“Pop Goes the Weasel” American version

All around the Mulberry Bush,
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey stopped to pull up his sock,
Pop! goes the weasel.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop! goes the weasel.

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