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eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

01 May 02 - 07:34 AM (#701914)
Subject: eena meena mackeracka
From: greg stephens

Perhaps there's been a thread on this, but I couldnt find one. Is this known throughout Britain? Ireland? America? Anybody recall a different version? Mine goes( Devon c1952 at a guess) Eena meena mackeracka/Rare ri dominacka/chikkapoppa lollipoppa/ rom pom poosh.

01 May 02 - 08:43 AM (#701954)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: masato sakurai

There's a good collection: Roger D. Abrahams and Lois Rankin, eds., Counting-Out Rhymes: A Dictionary (University of Texas Press, 1980). I'll quote the entry (no. 120).

Eena meena macker racker
Rare, ro, domino,
Juliacker, alapacker,
Rom, Tom, tush.

Opie (1969) [Children's Games in Street and Playground], 40-41, 53 [Scotland, England, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, since 1920's]. Eighteen variants, beginning "Eeny, meeny," "Eeni, meeni," "Iney, memey," "Ina, mina," "Eany, meany," "Ena, mena," "Eanie, meenie," "Eani meani," "Eny, meeny," and "Eena, mena." Discussed in relation to other gibberish rhymes. The rhyme is sometimes introduced with "I went to a Chinese laundry / To buy a loaf of bread; / They wrapped it in a tablecloth / And this is what they said." Three embryo forms of the rhyme are given: "Ena dena, dahsa, doma" (1909); "Eener, deener, abber, dasher" (1910); and "Haberdasher, isher asher" (1916) (see 123).
Turner (1969), 11 [Melbourne, 1920, 1962]. Two variants: "Eena, meena, micka, macka" and "Eeny, meeny macka racka."
Daiken (1949), 2.
Ritchie (1965), 45 [Edinburgh]. Two variants.
Those Dusty Bluebells (1965), 22 [Ayrshire]. "Eenie meenie macaracha, / A M dominacha, / Cheek-a-pop-a, lolly-pop-a, / Am bam bush."
Fowke (1969), 111 [Canada]. "Eeny meeny macker racker, / Rear ride down the racker. / Chicka poppa lollipop, / A rum tum trash."


01 May 02 - 08:50 AM (#701958)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: greg stephens

wow, thanks Masato. Now, any personal memories? Where did YOU learn it? And how did it go?

01 May 02 - 11:32 AM (#702058)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: wysiwyg

Now I know what to do with the silly words the Three Stooges would come up with-- put them in a counting song.



Anyone else have any of these? Are they posted anywhere online?


01 May 02 - 11:37 AM (#702065)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: wysiwyg

OK, I know I am not the only one thinking of this one from the US.... here is how I learned it:

Eenie meenie miney moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If it hollers, let it go,
Eenie meenie miney moe.

So that's not the original version. People say "Hey! Don't call ME a racist! I don;t have any of THAT stuff in ME!" Yet the culture transmits racist messages even before we are old enough to know there is such a thing as "difference" between human beings (but not really) (but there is) (but we have more in common than we have different) (ad infinitum)

The version I heard later in life was not about a tiger; it used what is now known universally to be an ugly racial epithet, "nigger."


01 May 02 - 12:24 PM (#702120)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: greg stephens

We used eenie meenie minie mo (with "that word") as a counting out rhyme...the eena meena mackeracka as just a chant, a sort of secret rhyme you learnt and treasured. We never used itfor counting, though it sounds as if that's what it's for, with the emphasised POOSH at the end. More contributions pleas, I want to know ifit ever crossed the atlantic. Also, 'eenie meenie minie mo' sounds as if its linguistic origin must long predate the use of the word "nigger" in English.I wonder how it went originally?

01 May 02 - 12:34 PM (#702131)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Sorcha

Could it have been the "menemenetarkel......"whatever that the finger wrote on the wall? Book of Samuel?? Somewhere in the Bible.......

01 May 02 - 12:39 PM (#702135)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: IanC

No, Sorcha, not the Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin.

BTW we used it as a counting rhyme just the same as eeny meeny miny mo and the taters game.

There are a few other threads about counting rhymes on the mudcat, with variants of this one in. I'm too lazy now to look for them.

Cheers! Ian

01 May 02 - 12:59 PM (#702152)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: CapriUni

More contributions please, I want to know if it ever crossed the atlantic

Greg -- It did, sort of... the "Catch a Tiger/N______ (also, as I understand it, during WWII, it was "Catch old Mo Jo by the toe") that Susan posted above, is the version I learned here in America.

01 May 02 - 03:23 PM (#702282)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: GUEST,Nerd

But, WYSIWYG, if you learned it as "Tiger" and never knew it had anything to do with the n-word, then your culture was not transmitting a racist message anymore. You weren't to know that another version of the same rhyme once used to be racist. The version you knew was perhaps insensitive to an endangered species, but not racist.

I grew up in upper Manhattan, where using the n-word would get you seriously f*cked up if not killed, but everyone knew the tiger rhyme, and none of us kids knew it had anything racist in it. When an older black man told us the original, we didn't believe it. Until he showed it to us in a book. Personally, I think "Tiger" is an improvement precisely because it isn't racist anymore (and because if you catch a tiger by the toe you will get what you deserve!)

01 May 02 - 03:49 PM (#702311)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Wyrd Sister

Eeny meeny miny mo

Sit the baby on the poh

When it's done wipe it's bum

Eeny meeny miny mo

Eenameena macaraca Airidackeraca Chickeraca boomeracka om pom push

Northern England, industrial, 1950's

01 May 02 - 03:57 PM (#702317)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: GUEST,Phil A

Also from North East England (50s 60s):

Eenie meeny mackeracka Dare-dum dominacker Ting-a-ling-a-lollipop Bing bang boosh.

Incidentally, 'eenie meeny myny mo' is one to four in one of the Celtic tongues ... 'hickory dickory dock' is eight nine ten.

01 May 02 - 04:00 PM (#702319)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: wysiwyg

Just because I didn't hear it with the n-word in the 50's, in my own home, doesn't mean it wasn't being sung next door that way. When I found out about it later, it turned out that all my friends had heard it the other way. So there ya go. I was "lucky," I got to miss ONE of many cultural messages.

The point was, we all got them, one way or another. Even if we did not realize that's what they were at the time, or what they meant. They all glom up together in our unconscious. So I don't sing this one to babies now. The fun of it went out of it, for me, retroactively.


Hey, I think I'll change my name to YMMV.


01 May 02 - 05:00 PM (#702368)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Herga Kitty

I'm with IanC on this one - we used eeny meeny and "one potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four" in the late 50s as a way of choosing "it".


01 May 02 - 08:33 PM (#702468)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Bert

I The East End of London it used as a dip, and went..

Immenacka ricker racka
Rare are dominacka
Chicka bocka
Bocka chicka
Om Pom Push.

And the person whom push landed on was unceremoniously pushed out of the ring.

OK. Spuds in!

02 May 02 - 02:44 AM (#702639)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Nerd


I see what you mean, but I don't think I agree. I don't think that two versions of the "same" rhyme or song constitute a psychological gestalt so that all meanings of either are meanings of both. I feel that the one with the tiger refers to a large Eurasian cat, especially if the speaker and hearer are unaware of other versions that refer to a person of African descent.

Incidentally, folklorists (of which I am one) have made the same argument you put forth, calling it "the symbolic equivalence of allomotifs." It's very much a respected position on these matters and I'm not belittling it. I just don't happen to agree in this case.

02 May 02 - 02:52 AM (#702647)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Mark Cohen

Somewhere I recall reading that words sounding like "Eeny meeny miny mo" were the actual counting numbers one through four in some language. And that the other rhyme was based on the numbers up to ten. I have a vague and probably incorrect memory that it was an ancient Scottish dialect. Anybody got any reliable information along this line?


02 May 02 - 02:58 AM (#702650)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Mark Cohen

Oops, missed Phil A's post. But I'd still be interested in learning more details.


02 May 02 - 07:07 AM (#702758)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: GUEST,Firecat at college

I used to use that rhyme when I was at junior school!!

I knew it as:-

Eeny meeny macka racka Dare dare dominacka Chikka bokka lollipoppa Om pom push The black cat says it must be you!

The "black cat" was whoever was doing the rhyme and they shoved the unfortunate loser over. I always made sure I WASN'T the unlucky one!

02 May 02 - 09:15 AM (#702831)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Nerd

Kenny Goldstein once wrote an article called "Strategy in counting-out" in which he showed that kids carefully picked and/or altered these rhymes to get the desired effect, making sure the people they wanted to stay in stayed in. So Firecat's experience seems to have been typical!

BTW, another good book to refer to is Roger Abrahams's "Counting-Out Rhymes: A Dictionary."

02 May 02 - 09:30 AM (#702842)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: wysiwyg

Nerd, I was talking about how cultural messages in general tend to work, and how I feel about this rhyme now, not saying how others ought to feel.... there's nothing there really to disagree with. My feelings are just my feelings, and yours are yours. (As I said, "YMMV.")

That's part of the trickiness of dealing with internalized (and often unconscious) racism.... it is always a completely individual thing, and broad approaches tend to not address that.


02 May 02 - 11:03 AM (#702889)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: GUEST,Nerd

Sorry, Susan. I don't know what YMMV means, which is probably why I didn't get your gist first time!

02 May 02 - 11:59 AM (#702925)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: GUEST,Nerd

By the way, the derivation from Celtic numbers is very speculative. No numbers in any Celtic language sound like eeny meeny miny mo, for example, though the number one sounds a bit like eeny, as it does in Spanish (Uno) and many other indo-European languages. There was a time when proving a "Celtic" heritage for any piece of folklore was fashionable, because (in England at least) it suggested that the the folklore in question was very old--a survival of before the Saxon conquest of Britain. Since the first folklorists were antiquarians, they were always claiming everything they recorded was an ancient fertility rite of Celtic or pre-Celtic times. People have even claimed that "eeny meeny miny moe" became a counting out rhyme when it was used by druids to select among prisoners for one to be sacrificed!

That said, there are various weird-sounding counting systems in England, for use both in counting-out among children, and counting sheep among shepherds. Some of them do have clear Celtic parallels, while for others scholars jump through hoops to try to fit them into a Celtic mold.

02 May 02 - 12:52 PM (#702955)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: wysiwyg

Nerd, it's "Your mileage may vary," or in other words, that's how it is for me, and it may be different for you.

I was kidding about the name change, tho YMMV would be pronounced Ymm-vee, and that IS tempting! *G*


02 May 02 - 02:00 PM (#703015)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: weepiper

The counting out/choosing 'it' rhyme we used most often at primary school (East Lothian, early eighties) was

Ittle ottle, black bottle, ittle ottle out
If you want a piece and jam, you must walk on out.

We had 'Eeny meeny miney mo' with tigger not tiger (and squeals not hollers), again I had no idea it used to be nigger until I was much older. I do remember using the rhyme that Greg first asked about but I can't remember the first bit, just the 'icker acker dominacker rum pum push' bit. We also had 'Eenty teenty tether methera...' which went up to ten but I forget the rest...

02 May 02 - 03:03 PM (#703076)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Wyrd Sister

I think yan, tan, tethera is 1-2-3 in Lakeland. There used to a cafe in Keswick with that name. And I don't believe I used an incorrect apostrophe in my last post - apologies to myself as representing those heartily annoyed by such things.

02 May 02 - 03:19 PM (#703087)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: CapriUni

Re: the Druid counting out for sacrifice... I think Nerd is right -- that it's part of the "Make everything Celtic" phenomenon.

Though there is a longish entry on counting out rhymes in the Funk and Wagnall's Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend and there is a suggestion that the rhyme:

O-U-T spells
Out Goes He
Right in the middle
Of the deep blue sea!

refers to the Biblical story of Jonah being chosen for sacrifice by his fellow shipmates through the drawing of lots.

I think T, He, & Sea make good rhymes... after all, drawing straws (or marked stones) is not the same as counting out...

02 May 02 - 03:50 PM (#703126)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: GUEST,Nerd

Yes, Yan tan Tethera is one of the weird-sounding counting systems I was referring to, and does occur in Lakeland. It is used both for sheep and for counting out.

WYSIWYG: is this pronounced wizzy-wig? sounds like Scrooge's old boss! :-)

02 May 02 - 04:38 PM (#703150)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: wysiwyg

Some folks say it that way. It just means "What You See Is What You Get"-- old computer term. I guess Wizziwig would be Fezziwig's cousin!

I'm liking that Yum-vee more and more though. But it already got changed once, so whaddaya gonna do? *G*


02 May 02 - 11:03 PM (#703381)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: Lynn

In Lois Choksy's book, "The Kodaly Method", I found a similar 'counting out' rhyme:

Icka backa soda cracka Icka backa boo Icka backa soda cracka Out goes you

I also learned "eeny meany" with 'tiger'. My neighbor sang it with the n-word. One of many things we couldn't agree on as kids!


03 May 02 - 04:18 AM (#703463)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: IanC

I learned eeny meeny with "nigger" but, since that's not a word we used for black people round my way, I didn't know what it meant for long enough.


03 May 02 - 12:10 PM (#703673)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: CapriUni

Lynn (or anyone), briefly, what is the Kolady method?

21 Aug 04 - 03:08 PM (#1252959)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: wysiwyg

Isn't Kodaly (pron. Ko-dah-ee?) one of the the systems that, among other things, teaches pitch by hand signals of the teacher?


21 Aug 04 - 03:16 PM (#1252963)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: wysiwyg

The ORIGINAL ARTICLE quoted below includes illustrations I could not pull into Mudcat, and additional information.


The Kodály Method
by: Teacher Lounge Editor, Deborah Jeter   

Have you been looking for a method to focus on your student's singing voice?

If the answer to the question above is yes, then the Kodály Method is for you. Zoltan Kodaly developed a way of educating young children through the singing of the native mother tongue folk songs. Doesn't sound too different with just that being said, but the differences lie within the internal workings. The Kodaly Method uses a sequence for teaching music, that is child developmental. More on that later. Right now... allow me to introduce you to Zoltan Kodaly.

Kodály, Zoltán (born on December 16, 1882, in Kecskemét, Hungary and died, March 6, 1967, in Budapest), was a prominent composer and authority on Hungarian folk music. He was also important as an educator, not only of composers but also of teachers and, through his students, contributed heavily to the spread of musical education in Hungary. He was a chorister in his youth at Nagyszombat (now Trnava), Czech., where he wrote his first compositions. In 1902, he studied composition in Budapest. He toured his country in his first quest for folk-song sources in the year before his graduation from Budapest University with a thesis (1906) on the structure of Hungarian folk song. After studying for a short time in Paris with the composer-organist Charles Widor, he became teacher of theory and composition at the Budapest Academy of Music (1907-41).
(Reference: "Kodály, Zoltán" Britannica Online, Copyright © 1994-1998 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)

What is the Kodály Method?

First off, let me say that in order to give a complete overview of the Kodály Method would take more than just this article to accomplish. I hope to give you enough information on the advantages of using the Kodály Method for teaching music, so that you will continue your learning through the resource books that I listed at the bottom of this article.

Rhythm symbols and syllables are utilized.

Hand signals are used to show tonal relationships.

Hand signs are used in order for the singer to "visualize" what the note or tone is doing. Is it going up? Is it going down? You see, when we play instruments, it is quite evident what pitches we are playing because we can see what our fingers are doing. We have this advantage because the instrument is outside of out body. However, with the singer, the instrument is inside. So, the use of hand signs, as shown below, can be very advantageous, especially to the "beginner". NOTE: These hand signs were not invented by Kodály, but rather incorporated by him because of the validity of their use.

The moveable "do" is practiced.

The moveable "do" system is utilized through the use of the "do" clef. The "do" clef is simply a sign that is placed whereever the tonic of each scale is. In other words, the beginning student need not be concerned that "g" is the starting pitch in G Major, until they are "ready" to have that information. It keeps things simpler for the beginner. G in G Major would simply be called "do". Using a fixed "do" system is always called middle C, "do".

The musical material emphasized is the mother-tongue folksong.

The mother tongue songs are the songs that are concentrated first. Mother tongue meaning, the child's native music or the music (folk songs) of his or her country.

The Kodály Method breaks down the learning of music into a series of concepts (or components); Then applies a sequential learning process to each one. This sequential learning process follows the natural developmental pattern used in learning a language, which is, aural, written, and then read.

Aural - oral - kinesthetic

Written - pictoral - abstract

Read - recognized

The First Concept:

Steady beat is the first concept taught in level one. Notice that I say "level" and not grade. Kodaly is a concept that is non-graded. This makes the teaching of the most fundamental concepts applicable even to "beginners" of music education in highschool and beyond. The sequence of the concepts stay the same, but the material used to teach these concepts are age appropriate and left up to the discretion of the teacher. A great deal of emphasis is placed on using the penta-tonic scale in the beginning. One of the great advantages of using the pentatonic scale is that the notes represent all of the intervals that are needed in singing in an extended range as the voice develops but will not put unnecessary strain on the inexperienced singer. Another wonderful advantage of singing pentatonic songs are because instruments are easily incorporated for improvisational purposes. Any tone played in a pentatonic scale will blend (or sound "right") with the singer's pentatonic song.

Solfege or "Curwen" handsigns are used as a way to visualize the pitches being sung.

The Kodaly Method was not invented by Kodaly, but is a system of music education which was evolved in the Hungarian schools under his inspiration and guidance.

The Musical Objectives of Kodaly musical training may be listed as to develop the ability of all children to:

Sing, play, and move from memory, a large number of traditional folksongs of the mother tongue.

Perform, listen to, and analyze the great art music of the world.

Achieve mastery of musical skills, such as musical reading and writing, singing and part-singing.

Improvise and compose, using their known musical vocabulary at each developmental level.

I have used the Kodaly Concept/Method/Philosophy ever since I was a student teacher. My cooperating teacher was a Kodaly Master so I had a wonderful start. Over the last twenty years, I have taught using Kodaly and Orff with a mixture of Dalcroze. In general, my students exhibit a tremendous increase in musicality when I use Kodaly's sequenced applications.

I hope you will take the time to investigate its possibilities with your own students. You may find students understanding and mastering musical concepts more quickly and singing more beautifully than you ever imagined.

Quote: If there is something to be gained and very little to lose, then by all means, TRY! - W. Clement Stone

21 Aug 04 - 09:39 PM (#1253170)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Mark Cohen

Are those the hand signals that were used in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when the huge crowd in India(?) was singing the five pitches that had been broadcast by the outworlders?

The numbers 1,2,3,4 that corresponded to eeny, meeny, miny, mo may have been in a pre-Celtic British language. Or not.

I remember a call-and-response song/game called "The Beestay" that I learned in the early 60's in Philadelphia. Each line is said/sung by person A and then repeated by person B. When person B says the "Oo" at the end of the last phrase, person A repeats "Oo" and their roles are then reversed. I have no idea what a Beestay is.

Oo (Oo)
Oo ah (Oo ah)
The Beestay (The Beestay)
[sung] Oh, no, no, no, not the Beestay (Oh, no, no, no, not the Beestay)
Eeny-meeny-dissaleeny-oo-ah-ah-maleeny-otcha-kotcha-kumarotcha-akawa-oo (Eeny-meeny-dissaleeny-oo-ah-ah-maleeny-otcha-kotcha-kumarotcha-akawa-oo)


(If I got any of it wrong, it's my sister's fault!)

01 Jul 06 - 03:39 PM (#1773667)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Cheryll UK

We had a second verse to enna meena etc
Enni Meeni macka racka
Rare ri dominacka
Chicka poppa lollipoppa
rum pum push

Rare ri reeta
chickapocka Lita
o - u - t spells OUT
with a jolly good clout!!

01 Jul 06 - 04:18 PM (#1773679)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Mo the caller

I'm with Wysiwyg on this one. I learnt it in the 40s with the N word, and thought nothing of it at the time. My daughter learnt it as tigger (not tiger), and didn't know it had ever been different. I couldn't teach it the old way, but tigger seems too forced, tiger has a completely different rythmn, so I'd leave it alone.
But I'm with Nerd as well, if it is passed on by people who have never know it any other way, then thats fine.

01 Jul 06 - 05:25 PM (#1773713)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Lynn, thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou – you've saved my one remaining brain cell from blowing itself out trying to remember the rest of that icka-backa-soda-cracker rhyme. We used it as a jump-rope chant (central California, 50's) and you had to jump out of the rope while it kept turning, on the same rhythmic beat that the next kid in line jumped in.   

I first picked up eeny-meeny from the bigger kids in my street when I was four. They used the N word, and I didn't know what it meant. When my mother heard me reciting it she told me that wasn't a nice word to use and that I should sing "tiger" instead. I subsequently heard the chant used both ways, so there were two versions floating around.

In the 60s we had a variant of that "beestay" rhyme-&-response (I never knew what a Beestay was either) which I first heard at a high school football rally and everyone thought was way cool. Ours started with

flea (flea)
fly (fly)
flea fly flew (ditto)
coomalata coomalata coomalata beestay
no no no no not the beestay

and ended in a sort of scat-rhythm: eee-biddlety-oaten-doaten-wahbat-skee-watten-tatten-SHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!

Kitty, we also had the same "one-potato-two-potato-three-potato-FOUR; five-potato-six-potato-seven-potato-MORE" and whoever was More was out, or It, or whatever. Interesting how such similar/identical things pop up on both sides of the Atlantic.

Do kids these days still sing these rhymes? Or is it all computers & video games now? Can any playground supervisors or parents of young kids shed any light?

01 Jul 06 - 06:02 PM (#1773730)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Frug

I remember this...........

You're a yeller lookin' teller lookin' tin squared copycutter juicy eyed herrin' picker half-starved cat.


02 Jul 06 - 05:37 AM (#1773925)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Fiona

We had (Glasgow late fifties-early sixties)

catch a N----- by the toe
If he cries let him go

my mother said that N----- was a bad wrd and that we should use 'darky' kind of hard to believe now. Kids nowadays use 'spider' which works well with the rhyme.

The 'I went to a Chinese restaurant' one was a pat a cake clapping type song, I never heard it used for picking who was 'it'.

We had the 'one potato, two potato' song as well, counted out with closed fists held in front being bumped as opposed to the pointing finger.


02 Jul 06 - 06:33 AM (#1773955)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Our "clapping song" (don't think there was an "It" either - I seem to remember this as a jumprope rhyme) went:

I woke up Sunday morning
And looked upon the wall
The beetles and the bedbugs
Were having a game of ball
The score was six to nothing
The beetles were ahead
A bedbug hit a home run
And knocked me out of bed

I had to stop myself spelling it "beatles"...

02 Jul 06 - 10:06 AM (#1774064)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

Bonnie Shaljean,

You asked "Do kids these days still sing these rhymes? Or is it all computers & video games now?"

While I'm neither a playground supervisor or [any longer] a parent of young kids, I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night {sorry, that's an American joke which others may not get]...

For a number of years I have been collecting children's rhymes and I can state without reservation that children still do counting out rhymes, handclapping rhymes and other types of rhymes.

Besides a number of Mudcat threads, there are quite a few othre websites where people can post examples of rhymes. On some of these websites more than others, it appears that children and youth-as well as adults-post ecamples of rhymes. Imo, the Internet is helping to perserve examples of rhymes, and also is make individuals aware that there are versions of specific rhymes other than the one that a they know. In that regard, I believe that the Internet may influence changes in rhymes-as children may drop their version in favor of vrevise their version or add trhymeis helping to infulence spread er another one or add to their version of their rhyme. That's the folk process in action.

Internet threads such as this also provide an opportunity for folks to consider the origin, source materials, and meanings of specif children's rhymes-and the way that their performance activities may have changed over time or in different geographical areas, and/or among different populations.

WIth regard to the "beestay" example that you cited, I wonder if this rhyme has a Spanish language source and are the changes in some if its words as result of folk etymology?

For instance, was "beestay" originally "como la vista"?


02 Jul 06 - 12:23 PM (#1774111)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Great post, Azizi - thanks! I'm glad to be reassured that these old rhymes are far from dying out.

Interesting point about "beestay"'s origins - I spelled it that way because Mark did so above, but I can also remember hearing it sung as "veestay". This was in California where there was/is a lot of Spanish spoken (I was saying Ay Caramba DECADES before Bart Simpson did) so you could well have a point. If you've got any links to some of the websites you mention, I for one would be quite interested in having a look.

Thanks again :-)

02 Jul 06 - 12:24 PM (#1774112)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,thurg

"my mother said that N----- was a bad wrd and that we should use 'darky' kind of hard to believe now."

Hard to believe, yes - but in another thread recently, an Englishman mentioned his father using "darky" as a neutral or polite term. I don't know how widespread this (mis)understanding was, but I can say that my (Canadian) grandmother, born around 1890, used that term to the end of her days, and she lived to the age of 103 - and would be quite indignant when my mother would chide her about it. (About using the term "darky" that is, not about living to 103). As far as she was concerned, there was nothing disrespectful in her use of the term; she was satisfied that she was free of racial prejudice, and was not one to speak without thinking - but also not one to be bullied in matters of diction or anything else. I am certain that there was nothing questionable about her attitudes (or lack of attitudes) regarding race, and that if the right person had talked to her about her use of the term "darky", she would have accepted that it could be insulting nowadays, and would have stopped using it. Not that it crept into the conversation much anyway.

I wonder if the great popularity of Stephen Foster songs spread the term "darky" around the English-speaking world or if it had an international life of its own?

(Sorry for the thread drift).

02 Jul 06 - 12:43 PM (#1774118)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Andy Jackson

We had a version as kids which I remember went:

ennie meanie makaraka rare oh
halapackaa doodiaka
him pim flash

At the time we put it down to our Mum being Irish!

And as for that mystical N word.... my elder brother along with many others I'm sure, had a dog (a very dark shade of grey)called Nigger (aren't I brave I typed the whole word.
Come on get a grip here, life changes, things and words which are offensive now had no significance years ago and vice versa.
Vive la change but never lose respect for your fellow man!!!!!


02 Jul 06 - 01:15 PM (#1774132)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Fiona

Hi Andy,

I wasn't trying to be coy but since it was clear what I meant (it had been used in the thread) and some folks find it VERY offensive it didn't seem necessary. I even thought twice about 'darky', but d**** wouldn't have made much sense would it?

Thinking of kids playing tag where you become 'it' when caught, has reminded me that I've heard primary school kids calling the tagged one 'Taliban', so they all shout 'Taliban' and run away. A few years ago, at the time those iceberg AIDS adverts were running on TV, being tagged became 'you've got AIDS'.

Kids can be so horrible (bless their little cotton socks)


02 Jul 06 - 04:45 PM (#1774243)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

They seem to have moved from imaginary bogeyman-figures - like being tagged meant you were The Cootie (remember Cooties?) - to ones that are all too real.

03 Jul 06 - 03:41 AM (#1774504)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,thurg

Yeah, but cooties are little bugs ...

03 Jul 06 - 05:19 AM (#1774545)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Little bugs are a non-threatening part of everyday life. There's no horror element to them. The point I was making was that in the old days the "It" that the other kids ran away or hid from was a fairly anodyne, non-specific character that was never going to kill anyone. Now "It" seems to have mutated and crossed the line into the realistic world.

Little bugs I can live with. Those other things mentioned above scare the daylights out of me.

03 Jul 06 - 10:55 AM (#1774753)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,thurg

I'm more scared of little bugs that think they can live with me.

Where I grew up, it was not someone was "the Cootie"; it was so-and-so HAD the cootieS. Seems to me that this originated in that particularly nasty brand of schoolyard bullying in which the whole group turns on some poor kid and ridicules him/her because of perceived shortcomings in his/her family background. By my day, I don't think any kids (in my school) actually knew what cooties were; "So-and-so has the cooties!" had become a pretty innocuous taunt.

I don't have any examples off the top of my non-infested head, but I think you could find examples of real-live bogey-men referenced in children's games from the past. Anyone know of any?

It used to be accepted wisdom that Ring Around the Rosy was about the plague, but apparently that notion has been debunked ...

03 Jul 06 - 11:05 AM (#1774757)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Good point, Thurg. I didn't grow up in Britain but I'm SURE there are some Guy Fawkes schoolyard chants. And was there a Dick Turpin one, or is that a fanciful notion?

PS: Nobody in my school really knew what cooties were either. Did you have that "Cootie" game when you were a little kid, where you had to assemble a giant plastic Cootie bit by bit, and the first one to finish it won? Guess THAT'S what they look like...   ;-)

03 Jul 06 - 12:56 PM (#1774842)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

The only other thought to add is: Can anyone identify rhymes containing real-life figures WHO WERE STILL AT LARGE, AND A THREAT at the time they entered play-folklore? Once someone is safely dead it modifies their character in a sense, because they can no longer actually harm you; whereas Aids and terrorists are still around and functioning now. (I wonder how much impact this has on today's kids, or if they truly realise the implications?) I grew up during the red scare when the media never seemed to stop talking about The Impending Bomb, yet I don't remember Russians or The Commies taking over the bad-guy role in our playground rhymes & games. It was still abstractions like cooties and bogeymen, or fictional monsters like Frankenstein.   

I know it's much harder to determine the timeline factor because it requires knowledge of dates and history. Guy Fawkes presumably did not become familiar to the public until after he was captured; but were there any living, still-dangerous villains who played the fear-figure in kids' popular culture? Any outlaws of the old west or robbers on the King's highway?

03 Jul 06 - 01:56 PM (#1774880)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,richd

Here's one from Cyfathfa Juniors and Brecon Road Infants School in Merthyr Thdfil.
Eeni meanii mackaraka
Day Die dominaker
Cheeky Lacker
Lolly Popper
Out goes one,
Out goes Two,
Out goes another one
and out Goes you!

And here's dum-dum-daro, which is sung, not said and is often a clapping game.

Dum Dum Dare-o
see see al la lero,
Munney munney Aker
Ooka-ba ooka-ba ookaba SPLIT!

04 Jul 06 - 03:29 AM (#1775325)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Abuwood

Mum's rhyme 1920's Yorkshire was

Rah Rah chicker rah
Chicker rah rhoney
pony ping pang piney
ala kala witchwood
ching chang choo

We used one potato and eeny meeny, with the N word (not knowing what it meant).

My kids did lots of clapping rhymes

A sailor went to sea sea sea
to see what he could see see see
but all thet he could see see see
was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea....

There are lots of other verses to this, each having different actions

You've got me thinking now....

04 Jul 06 - 03:33 AM (#1775327)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

I apologize for the typos in my previous post to this thread. Those typos were the result of a 'rush to post' when I was supposed to be off to a non-cyperspace function. I shoulda waited till I had more time to post to this now.

Bonnie, and others, one of my favorite websites which contains examples of contemporary children's rhymes from children is

Here are four examples of children's rhymes from that blog:

"I have a few songs I always did with my friends. One was "The Space Goes", the other was "Down by the banks". "The Space Goes" sounds something like this:
The Space goes
bobo, skee waten taten
ah ah, ah ah boom boom boom
mini mini waten, bobo skee waten,
bobo, skee waten freeze!
::at freeze the players would freeze and whoever moved first lost::"
-posted by contortme at September 16, 2003


"What about the song that goes like this..

Flea.. Flea fly.. Flea Fly Flow. Ama lama kuma lama kuma la vista, Oh oh oh oh not the vista vista, issilini dissilini Oo aa aa malini, akaraka, cukara ich bam boom, ip diddly ope en bope why not shout and bout........ssssssss.... Bang!

Anybody else know this?..."
-posted by Danny at October 1, 2003


"I remember doing some kind of hand game where you say

Bo Bo Ce ot and tot and nana I am a Boom Boom
Itty bitty out and tot bobo ce ot and tot
Bobo ce ot and tot...BOOM

I have no idea what it means however LOL."
-posted by Tabitha at February 12, 2005


[and here's an example that I think is from another 'family' of children's rhymes]:

I know one...

its goes

ROCK PAPER SCISSORS SHOOT ( at this part u play rock paper scissors shoot)
-posted by Kim at May 7, 2006


Btw, this website also contains examples of contemporary children's rhymes from children, youth, and adults:


04 Jul 06 - 06:04 AM (#1775386)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Mo the caller

Azizi, you said 'For instance, was "beestay" originally "como la vista"?'
What does that mean, please.

As for Cooties or Nits, well they may seem a non-threatening part of everyday life now but they were a matter of deep shame and dread in my youth (among parents as well as children). Do you remember "Nitty Norah" or as the teachers called her the "Head Nurse".

04 Jul 06 - 08:44 AM (#1775518)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

Hello, Mo! What do ya know? [I couldn't resist that. And I'm not even sure if your name is pronounced as though it rhymes with know or row or go or foe-though I doubt that we would ever be that last one].

You asked about the meaning of "como la vista?. I had 5 years of Spanish in another life [one class per year in my 4 years of high school & 1 class in my first year of college]. Unfortunately, I have not had occassion to speak Spanish since than nor do I read it. But in spite of all of that, certain words have stuck with me. Like "Hola! [hello] and "amigo/a" [friend].

I recognize the words 'com' and 'la' and 'vista' as Spanish words, but can't say that I remember the phrase 'como la vista' from Spanish language classes. Nor did I find that phrase on any Spanish/English site {though I admit I only looked at a few Spanish/English translation sites}.

But-given the individual meaning of these words*, my guess is that the "Como la vista" phrase in that children's rhyme anyway means something like the African American colloquialism "What's happenin?" And I think that the answer in the children's rhyme "no [no no no no] la vista" means "nothin's happenin".

What's happenin'" has the same or similar meaning as "How's things" [What do you see?=What's goin on?]

* the Spanish/English website has these meanings for "como" and vista" ["la" means 'the' for feminine words]:

como- as, how, like, such as

vista- appearance, aspect


Hopefully, some Mudcat member or guest who speaks [everyday] Spanish or reads [everyday] Spanish will confirm or correct my [uneducated] guess about this phrase.

04 Jul 06 - 04:15 PM (#1775946)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

I don't speak Spanish either, but I remember hearing it at school when I was a kid. Doesn't it mean "How are you?" ? I also remember another phrase, also from school, which was "Hasta la vista". (And Arnold S used it in - what was it? - Terminator? "Hasta la vista, baby") so I always assumed it was some form of Goodbye. If I've got it wrong, will any Spanish-speakers please jump in and correct me!

04 Jul 06 - 05:41 PM (#1776009)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

How are you is one of the phrase I remember from my high school Spanish. It's "Como estas?" {or "Como esta?"}.

And I believe that you're correct that "Hasta la vista" is a colloquial expression that means "Goodbye {actually, it really means something like "until I see you again".

I wonder when this "como la vista" [or something like it} rhyme became popular and whether its source was not just a colloquial Spanish expression but a recorded Spanish song.

A number of verses in contemporary children's rhymes have their origins in titles, refrains and/or lyrics of R&B songs.

Here's two of them:

We Will Rock You
we will we will rock you (small pause) we will we will rock you mud on you face a big disgrace kicking your can all over the place singing we will we will rock you down shake you up like a volcano will erupt buckle your seatbelt step on the gas were gonna kick you in your ask me once ask me twice everybody we will we will rock you (small pause) we will we will rock you
{while singing stomp one foot then the other then clap throughout the whole song}
-hi; 6/29/06


1, 2, 3 Hit It! {Brickwall Waterfall}
1, 2, 3,
that's the way
uh huh uh huh
i like it
uh huh uh huh
that's the way
uh huh uh huh
i like it
uh huh uh huh
peace. punch
captain crunch.
brick wall. waterfall.
girl you think you know it all?
you don't! i do!
so poof with the attitude.
loser loser with a twist
elbow elbow wrist wrist.
wipe a tear. blow a kiss.
kiss this.
hunnie u aint got none of this.
-reposted on 6/21/2005 from
posted by k to the c on June 20, 2006

[with permission of that blog's members]

05 Jul 06 - 10:12 AM (#1776629)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bizibod

Eeny, meeny ,mackeracka rare-ride,dominicker-chicker-packer rom-pom-push,and O- U- T spells OUT!!!

Essamany sallamany oowalla wallamany ,
Essamany sallamany oowalla wah,
Bo biddly dicken docken,
Bo-bo be dicken docken sshhhhh!

11 Jul 06 - 09:18 AM (#1780961)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,montegue blister

A fascinating thread indeed. I write a blog detailing archaic / unusual childrens games and party games. I do cover counting out rhymes occasionally. I thought I knew most of them - but i've learnt a lot of new ones in this thread.

If you want to read my blog... it is here

My favourite , Victorian counting out rhyme is here

chin chin,

Montegue Blister

11 Jul 06 - 05:58 PM (#1781337)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

GUEST,montegue blister.

Thanks for posting the link to your website. I found it to be quite interesting, though I personally didn't like the slave game.
But different strokes for different strokes.

If you haven't done so, check out the schoolyard games thread of the Octoblog website for the posted examples of children's games. The URL is:

Btw, I hope you consider joining Mudcat! Membership is free and easy..

Best wishes!


14 Jul 06 - 01:39 AM (#1783173)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,curious

Does anyone know of a reliable source that could help me find the original version of the "eeny meeny" rhyme? A mini-scandal erupted near my hometown (accusing a company of racism for putting "eenie meenie minie moe" on a billboard) and I'm skeptical that the 'n-word' was a part of the rhyme's first occurance (as the accuser claimed).

Thanks for any suggestions and/or help!

The Midwestern US

14 Jul 06 - 05:18 AM (#1783226)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Amy

"(as the accuser claimed)"
I am bewildered as to what is meant by the above remark Guest:Curious.
Would you mind making yourself clearer on this point?
Thank you in advance for a response.

20 Aug 06 - 02:09 PM (#1814516)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,curious

Amy, here's a link to the newspaper article that spawned my question:

It certainly caused a stir. Despite disagreeing (not publicly) with the columnist, the company took down the billboard in question immediately after the article was printed.

I am most curious about the line where he quotes the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes.


20 Aug 06 - 02:55 PM (#1814539)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Nigel Parsons


It appears from the linked article that the Brewers using this for advertising fully accepted the accusation that the original rhyme had (what would now be considered) racist overtones.
Bob Sullivan, vice president and chief marketing officer with Boulevard Brewing, said no one had complained about the beer billboard. "It's a choice campaign," he said.

"It has nothing to do with race, color or creed," Sullivan said. "You would be the first person who's brought that to our attention."

Sullivan thinks that time and the wording change in the rhyme have been enough to disassociate it from its racist past. He said it would be "a huge stretch" now to make the connection.


20 Aug 06 - 03:00 PM (#1814540)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Peace

History of eeny meeny

20 Aug 06 - 03:05 PM (#1814543)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Sorcha

I grew up in south central Kansas. The N word was used, except in our house...we used monkey.

23 Jan 07 - 11:07 AM (#1945534)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,YearsGoneBy

I learned a similar version of this from an 8 yr.old friend whose parents were from the U.K., some 30 odd years ago.We used it as a secret count ...I couldn't tell you if that was it's original use or not,but it goes like this (spelling unknown)
   Eeny meeny macker racker
   Rare aye domma racker
   Ricker racker
   Romma racker
   Rom pom poosh.

23 Jan 07 - 12:08 PM (#1945605)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Andy Jackson

From my Irish, but a long time in Englad, mother, when I was but a child.

eeni meenie macaraca rare oh
hallapaca doodiaca
him pim flesh

09 Mar 07 - 05:53 AM (#1991225)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,senewb

About 10 years ago when I was in school...

we used the enney meany miney mo - tiger version...but we also used

enney meany boocha keeny
be bo boperinni
acha cacha boomeracha
out goes y o u

(at this point you could continue if you didnt want that person to go out...)

not because youre dirty
not because youre clean
just because you kissed the boy
behind the magazine

... looking back, it's kinda weird. Has anyone ever heard or seen a version like this?

09 Mar 07 - 06:29 AM (#1991245)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: greg stephens

Very unusual version,senewb. Where are we talking about?

09 Mar 07 - 07:29 AM (#1991290)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

Hopefully senewb will respond to your post greg. However, if you're talking about the second version of that rhyme that senewb shared, in my informal but relatively constant collection of rhymes over the Internet {from 2000 to date}m I've found a number of versions of those lines. Here's an example from

candy apple on a stick
makes my heart go 3,4 to 6
not because your dirrty
not because your clean just because
you kissed a boy behind
the magazine
hey girls wanna have some fun
here come(_name_) with his pants undone
he can wobble he can do the twist
but most of all he can kiss kiss kiss
now close your eyes and count to ten if you miss u mary him!
-posted by Lil gUm cHeweR at April 28, 2004


Since the mid 1980s, I've been alert to children's rhymes performed by children {mostly Black children} in the Pittsburgh area.
I've heard "eenie meenie" [with the "catch a tiger by the toe" and the "ensty minsty miney mo" ending] used as a counting out rhyme. But I haven't [yet] heard that candy apple on a stick rhyme. However, it may indeed be recited here.

I've collected that 'apple on a stick' and 'kiss a boy behind a magazine' verse from two Pittsburgh adults who grew up in other US cities. And I found this version of all three of those rhymes in a book on Black American children's rhymes from Houston, Texas
Barbara Michels & Bettye White, "Apples On A Stick"
(Coward-McCann, New York, 1983, p. 17)

Shake, shake, shake
Eeny meany
That's a queeny
Ooh ba Thumblina
Ah cha ca che Liberace
Oh baby I love you
Yes I do
Take a peach
Take a plum
Take a piece of bubble gum
No peach
No plum
Just a piece of bubble gum
Ooshe ahshe
Ooshe ahshe
I want a piece of pie
The pie too sweet
I want a piece of meat
The meat too tough
I want to ride the bus
The bus too full
I want to ride the bull
The bull's too black
I want my money back
The money's too green
I want a diamond ring.


Btw, the authors didn't note which category of rhyme this is.
I think it's either handclap rhyme or a jump rope rhyme.

Fwiw, it appears that a number of jumprope rhymes have become handclap rhymes and not vice versa. There's various reasons why jumping rope appears to be done less often. Imo, one key reason is that school teachers and other staff no longer provide jumpropes for girls to play with during school recess. Another key reason is that the clothes dryer has made obsolete the practice of hanging clothes outside on lines to dry. This removed children's access to those 'clothes lines' which were a 'free' source of jump ropes.

My opinion on those fake jump ropes they sell at stores nowadays-
"Bah Humbug!"

09 Mar 07 - 07:46 AM (#1991312)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

Hmmm. Well that last rhyme I posted didn't have a version of "eenie meenie" or "kiss a girl behind the magazine". Sorry 'bout that.

Lemme try again with three other examples that I don't think I posted here yet.

First, here's the version of the eenie meenie rhyme I recited as a child in Atlantic City, New Jersey {1950s}

Eenie Meenie
Oosh Ah Umbaleenie
Ahsie Mashie
I love you.


Here's an example of an eenie meenie rhyme that I collected from an African American woman who lives in Pittsburgh:

Eenie Meenie Justaleanie
Eenie Meanie Justa Leanie
Ooca Acla Trackalacka, I love you.
Take a peach, Take a plum
Take a piece of bubble gum.
Teacher, Teacher, Dummy Dum
Gimme back my bubble gum.
Saw you with your boyfriend last night.
How do you know?
I was peekin' through the keyhold.
Wash them dishes
Jump out the window
Peaches on the tree, Bananas on the floor
Jump back baby. I Don't Love You No More!
- Donetta A. {Pittsburgh, PA 1984}


Also here's another rhyme that I think can be claimed by the 'eenie meenie miney mo' family, at least as a distant cousin:

itsy bitsy teeny witsy ew oh to0-ba-leeny outsy whatsy sellahawts say the magic words.. i have a stick of chewing gum and if you want the other half.. this is what you say.. amen. amen. amen-deyago sedeyago hookes pookes sallamoskes sis.. sis .. sis coom ba.. everybody eerybody RA-RA-RA.. BOO-BOO-BOO.. sitting on a trash can banging on a tin can i can you can nobody else can sitting on a bench.. nothnig to do.. along comes a little baby goochy gochy goo..

i learned this as when i was litte.
posted by brrittannee at March 25, 2005

09 Mar 07 - 07:56 AM (#1991325)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

Okay, rereading that shake shake shake rhyme, there is a version of eenie meenie....

Calgon, take me away!!!

[now that line has nothing to do with eenie meenie. But some people may remember it from a tv commercial. See for more information about the popular use of that line.

I think that "Calgon, take me away" is also mentioned in this Mudcat thread: detail.cfm?messages__Message_ID=1963880 Jingles you remember.

But maybe not since it's not a jingle.

Anyway, sorry, I didn't mean to go off topic then, and now and well.. It's the Sagittarian in me.

Oops, I was about to do it again.

I'm outa here.



09 Mar 07 - 04:52 PM (#1991905)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Sherbs

I learned a version of the 'Eeny Meeny rhyme' in school in the '70s on the Gower as a method of counting out. We used the version with the N word, but I don't think any of us actually knew what it meant, we just regarded it as just another nonsense word along with the rest of the rhyme.

We also had the 'one potato' rhyme but it was not used for counting out, it was more like a game in itself.

On another note, this is one that was around much later when I was a teenager and I've no idea where it comes from, it might have just been made up by the people who were chanting it.

I'll have a Degville Duckett
Duck it up and down
Bon Jovi, Cherry on a stick
I'll have a dry martini
shaken not stirred in a bidet
with a slice of lemon and two veg

09 Mar 07 - 05:26 PM (#1991954)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Sue A

Since someone above mentioned Lakeland sheep counting I thought I'd offer you one to twenty in it ... but I hasten to add that not only do shepherds not use this counting system, but even end of 19th century references to it regard it as archaic... so when anyone actually DID use it I don't know. This is the version I know, but there are other variations, and similar versions in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany, I understand:

yan, tyan, tethera, methera, pimp, sethera, lethera, overa, dovera, dick, yan-a-dick, tyan-a-dick, tethera-dick, methera-dick, bumfit, yan-a-bumfit, tyan-a-bumfit, tethera-bumfit, methera-bumfit, giggot.

And yes, in north Cumbria we too said the eeny, meeny, miney, moe rhyme with the n........ word as a counting out rhyme, as well as dip,dip,dip my blue ship (etc) and one potato, two potato (etc). And I've a whole list of other childhood rhymes and games which I noted down, so don't get me started!

25 Apr 07 - 02:28 AM (#2035056)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Sam

eeny meeny macka racka dare-da dominaka
am bam bush OUT

14 May 07 - 12:49 AM (#2051125)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Spiperblaze

My mother grew up in England and taught us this when we were young in America.... it went something like this

Enee meanie macker racker rare rye dominacker enee weanie wom pom poof chinese choo choo one two three ..a wooly wooly webster out goes he!!!

14 May 07 - 01:27 AM (#2051133)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Bugsy

The one we used to do in the early 50's was:

" I went into a china shop
to buy a loaf of bread
he put me in a pillow case
and this is what he said
eenie meeni macka racka
rairia dominacka
chicka racka lollipoppa
Om pom push."

and the one on "push" got pushed out of the equation,



14 May 07 - 02:49 AM (#2051164)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Muttley

Here's a couple from Oz if they haven't been posted yet. I remeber most of these (actually - ALL of them - - - - sad. I must be getting old(er).

Eeni Meenie macka racka
rare rye dominacka
Chickapop alollipop
Rang pang puss

Usually followed by:

Penny on the water, Tuppence on the sea
Threepence on the whirly-whirly
You're not 'he'

(UK or US kids might say "You're not 'it'")

Another goes

Eenie meenie makka rakka
rear rie damma nakker
rang pang push

Here're a few others:

Eerie oarie ickory am
Queerbie quorby raspberry jam
Filsy folsie Irishman
Tickle em, tackle em; bosh


Intery mintery cuttery corn
Brambly briar and brambly thorn
Wire briar barrel lock
Three geese in a flock
One flew east and one flew west
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest

(which is probably how the bbok and film of that title came to be - a nonsense rhyme and the fact that cuckoos don't build nests)

Ickey ackey horses cackey (poo)
what colour will it be?

(child landed on would nominate a colour - preferably a long one to ensure they didn't get landed on for "it / he" . . . .

Yellow - Y..E..L..L..O..W

Whoever copped the "W" was "it" or "he" for the chasey game.

I went to a Chinese restaurant to buy a loaf of bread
He wrapped it up in a ten-bob note and this is what he said:
"Eli eli chickabye chickabye, saw a sausage - in bed!
Went to the other one, got me another one: Drop dead!"


I saw Esau sitting on a see-saw; I saw Esau sitting on a gate
I saw Esau sitting on a see-saw; I saw Esau kissing our Kate

Thes, of course were all 'counting rhymes to dtermine who was going to be doing the chasing in the game about to commence and were generally made as complicated as possible in order to prevent rigging the outcome.

I also recall one that seemed to end with "Bumbarumba gosh - Nineteen Hundred and One!" (1901 being the year Australia achieved Federation status and the right to govern itself independent of English veto oe approval).


My wasn't that fun!

06 Jun 07 - 08:15 PM (#2070375)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

Looks like no ones posted here in a while, but the version I learned as a kid for the flea song went (and I'm just spelling as things were pronounced)

flea fly
flea fly flo
cumula cumula cumula vista
oohhhh no, not la vista
ta vista
eenie meenie mussolini
ooo ah ah,
ah ma-lini
ocha cocha cumoracha
oo ah ah
ish killy oaten boaten
o boe ba ditn dot
odden cotton sssshh

I remember learning it in fourth grade, and I remember the teacher teaching it to us because she said it would help us remember something. But I don't remember what, LOL.

08 Sep 07 - 05:57 AM (#2143834)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Jaycey

I know yet another variation of "eena meena", which is this one (guessed spelling!):-

Eena meena mickeracka
Air eye dobinacka
Chickabacka chickabacka
Chinese choo-choo
Air-a-dona chickerona
Alla-balla wobstick
Out goes SHE!
Out goes another one and that is HE!

This was taught to me by my mother, who is now 91 and was brought up in Stockport (she's got a good memory!).

My brother (born 1945) always did "Dip dip dip, my blue ship" when his generation were picking "It", and at my school, we always did "one potato, two potato" (I was born in 1954, and brought up in Oxfordshire).

I also remember lots of other playground games and songs (such as "The big ship sailed on the alley, alley-oh") and skipping songs, using great long washing lines as the ropes, so lots of people could fit in - there were lots of songs which involved getting people in and out of the skipping group. A couple I remember are:-

Granny's in the kitchen
Doing a bit of knitting
IN comes a bogeyman
And pushes her OUT!

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
The next person follow ON!

Do children still play like this today? (I don't have any so I don't know.) Nobody was allowed to stay indoors during 'playtime' in my day, you were pushed outside come rain or shine!

24 Sep 07 - 03:02 PM (#2156487)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

I was searching on the net to find out the real words to eenie, meenie, minie, mo etc. and i came across this site.
I am from England and all my life ive thought that it goes..
eenie, meenie, minie, mo catch a pity by it's toe if it squeals let it go. eenie, meenie, minie, mo
i asked some of my friends and the said the same rhyme replacing "pity" with 'robber' 'tigger' 'tiger' and 'fishy'. We then asked another person and they said n****r.

As for playing tag I used to only say 'your it' and that was only 7 years ago.

24 Sep 07 - 06:55 PM (#2156623)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Steve Shaw

From Salford in the 1930s, where my mum lived as a girl, and passed on to me. Rendered phonetically, you understand, and four beats to the bar!

Eeny meeny mackeracka
Rare eye dummeracka
Chickeracka rare eye
Om pom push

20 Nov 07 - 03:41 PM (#2198597)
Subject: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,a 12 year old girl

honestly i heardd:

iney meanie miny mo chatch a nigger by his to if he hollars make him pay 50 dollars every day

03 Dec 07 - 08:09 AM (#2207437)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,man aged 25

I thought that it went:

Eenie Meenie Makerarcker
Air- eye Dominaka
Chicka Packer
um Pum Push OUT!

03 Dec 07 - 06:59 PM (#2207894)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Melissa

12 year old girl,
does your version go on to say:
(fifty dollars every day)
My mother told me to pick the very best one
and you are not IT?

My classmates pretty much abandoned EenyMeenie when we learned
Inka Binka
Bottle of ink
the cork fell out
and you stink

I don't know what "horse and goggle" means, but that's what I use with my gs troop:
"Ein Zwei Drei...horsengoggle"
At 'horsengoggle' we all put a hand into the circle...count the total number of fingers, and count off from there.

09 Jan 08 - 09:36 AM (#2232003)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Apina

Does anyone remember

The big ship sailed on the alley alley oh
The alley alley oh
The alley alley oh
The big ship sailed on the alley alley oh
On the last day of September

The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea
The bottom of the sea
The bottom of the sea
The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea
On the last day of September

There are other verses I can't quite remember - 'The Captain said "This will never never do"' was one of them. And I have often in recent times wondered if it was based on a real story of a shipwreck, but haven't managed to locate anything obvious. Our Eeny Meeny, in Birmingham England in the 60/70s was:

Eeny meeny miny mo
Catch a nigger by his toe
If he squeals, let him go
Eeny meeny miny mo

We were a school of 6-10 yr old middle class white kids and if anybody knew what nigger meant, I certainly didn't. I dare say we'd have still used it if we did; kids are not very pc left to their own devices and at that time there was no general awareness of racism. We had our own vocabulary of taunt and our own 'isms' too.

We had two school buses, one of which came past the Monyhull Hall mental hospital (as it then was). Inmates of the hospital were known to us as 'Monnies' (obviously derived from the name of the place) and this was, by extension, applied to kids who came in on that bus. "You're a Monny" rendered in a high-pitched Brummie accent takes me right back... We were little horrors.

Fortunately most kids grow out of it under the civilising influence of parents and teachers and generation by generation we leave it behind us. I hear no hint of it in my daughter's playground, but sadly they still find ways to be cruel to each other.

09 Jan 08 - 05:58 PM (#2232508)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

I dare say we'd have still used [the "n word"] if we did [know what it meant]; kids are not very pc left to their own devices and at that time there was no general awareness of racism

Apina, thanks for the honesty of your post. You described your childhood school as having no non-White students. I wonder if you and your peers would have openly used that "n word" in school if that school had had a number of students who were non-White. I think you probably wouldn't have for a number of reasons, including the fact that those non-White students would not have taken kindly to the use of that word when they were told {by older students in the know, and/or by adults} what it meant.


As a matter of record, in my African American neighborhood [in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the 1950s], the eenie meenie rhyme was always recited as "catch a tiger by the toe". I didn't know that it was ever anything different than that. And "catch a tiger by the toe" is the way that I've heard that counting out or choosing It rhyme recited by African American girls & boys in my adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania since I moved here in the late 1960s.

And as an aside, let me say that in the ten years that I've been formally collecting children's rhymes, including taunting rhymes, I've come across very few children's rhymes that refer to race or ethnicity or skin color.

I'm glad that this version of the eenie meenie rhyme-with its use of a derogatory referent-has largely been retired.

10 Jan 08 - 08:12 AM (#2232872)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

Having re-read this sentence that I wrote in my last post to this thread, I'd like to change it this way:

...I think you probably wouldn't have for a number of reasons, including the fact that those non-White students would not have taken kindly to the use of that word when they were told {by older students in the know, and/or by adults} what society says it means.

11 Jan 08 - 08:12 AM (#2233795)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Wilfried Schaum

A German version for counting out:
Eene meene muh - und aus bist du
(- and out are you)

Note: the ee is a flat e like in set, but longer. The single unstressed e is a murmur vowel, like the Hebrew shwa mobile.

23 Mar 08 - 11:45 AM (#2295880)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,teartse (from the netherlands)

Especially in the light of the American version with the racist "n-word" readers might find a suggested slave-trade-Portuguese-Creole origin of the version in The Netherlands curiously interesting.

The Dutch version reads (I add a,what I think to be, equivalent in English phonetics as close as it gets, and a translation into Enlish of the no-nonsense lines):

Iene miene mutte      Eena meena mutte   
Tien pond grutten    Teen pond grutte    Ten pounds of groats
Tien pond kaas       Teen pond kaas      Ten pounds of cheese
Iene miene mutte      Eena meena mutte
Is de baas            Is the baas         Is the boss

I read in Wikipedia that according to Frank Arion, a writer from Paramaribo, Surinam,this originates from a song sung by black slaves on St Thomé, an island west of the African west coast,from where the slaves were transported on ships to America. The phonetic similarity is indeed very striking:

Iene miene muito      
Tempo de n'grutta
Tempo de n'kasala
Iene miene muito
Es de baixe.

Iene in that Creole language is a pluralizer. Miene is from the Portuguese word for girl: menina. Muito is the Portuguese word for much, many. Tempo means time. I do not know the origin of n'grutta, according to Frank Arion it means: to make love.Kasala comes from the Portuguese "casar se" which means to mary. Baixa is the Portuguese word for down, below.(Pronunciation of kasala and baixa is kashalla and basha.)

So it means:

Many girls.         
Time to make love,
Time to mary.
Many girls
Down there below.

Note: the male slaves were put on the upper decks, the women below in the lower decks.

23 Mar 08 - 12:42 PM (#2295918)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

GUEST,teartse, thanks for sharing that example!

That's quite interesting reading, particularly so in light of the close similarities between that version and the German language version that was posted by Wilfried Schaum.

teartse, I hope that you continuing posting on Mudcat either as a member or as a guest. Membership is free and easy. Just click on the Membership link near the top, upper right hand corner. One of the benefits of joining Mudcat is that you can exchange private electronic messages with other members. I mention that because I'd love to learn more from you about slave-trade-Portuguese-Creole origin of the version in The Netherlands and other subjects, but that would be going off-topic too much in this thread.

Best wishes,


18 May 08 - 04:24 PM (#2343812)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,roxiraccoon

We had this one while I was growing up in Fort Devens MA, in the early 80's:

Eanie Meanie Acha Cheanie,
Ah, Boo, Bubblinie,
Acha Chacha, Livaracha,
Out goes Y-O-U and you shall not be it!

04 Aug 08 - 10:00 AM (#2404840)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Stephen (from Doncaster, South Yorkshire)

We had a number of counting rhymes in the 70's.

We used: -
Eenie meenie minie mo
Catch a tiger/nigger by the toe
When he hollers, let him go
Eenie meenie minie mo.

We mostly said 'tiger', although 'nigger' was known of.
Incedentally, the word 'nigger' wasn't considered any more insulting than 'brummie', 'geordie' or 'scouse' are now.

Less well known, but more prized was: -
Eenie meenie mackeracker
rare rare dominacker
chicker packer lollipopper
om pom push
(the spelling is arbitrary!)

Quite popular was: -

Racing car number nine
Losing petrol all the time
How many gallons did it loose?

At this point the person whose 'spud' (i.e. fist) was counted on the word 'loose' would supply a number, say 'seven'. The rhyme was then completed using the supplied number, thus: -

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
And out you must GO.

Later, we got lazy and the counting rhymes degenerated to this: -
Girl guide, boy scout, OUT.

And: -
Ittle ottle,
Shit in a bottle,
Ittle ottle,

Nice, eh?

19 Aug 08 - 04:03 AM (#2417528)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,the good ship sails on the ally ally ay nurs

17 Sep 08 - 04:03 AM (#2442823)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,wystan

For us it was always, and will always be

Eeney meeney macaraca
Air-eye dominaca
Chickaraca boomaraca
Bom bom French

This chorus was usually skipped to. We never gave a thought to the meaning of course, and never saw it written down. If it had been written, there would naturally have been fewer variations around the country.

Don't you love this kind of reminiscence? Mind you, I wouldn't want a whole morning of to work!


12 Oct 08 - 05:25 PM (#2463907)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Eva

This is what I remember my mom singing... spelling is a complete guess!

Amalama comaloam umla vista, oh no no no no da vista, atchi batchi comalatchi, ew ah, ew alamini, ipsaliny gyspaliny I mean you.

17 Oct 08 - 04:58 PM (#2468578)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,your mum

eenie meenie mackarack rare eye dominaca cheeky beeky lolipopa rom pom push OUT :)

22 Feb 09 - 09:21 AM (#2572961)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,macca

I used to sing this in school in the 80's in NW England
The teacher would sing one verse and all the kids had to (try to) repeat it. Great

Eenie meeny mackeracka Dare-dum dominacker Ting-a-ling-a-lollipop Bing bang boosh!

Ratten-scatten do ra ra!

Essamany sallamany oowalla wallamany ,
Essamany sallamany oowalla wah!

A'bo a dic a doc a bo-bo a dic a doc a chuh!

22 Feb 09 - 07:11 PM (#2573318)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Gweltas

One I learned from my mother back in the early 1950's which she said was a counting out rhyme from her childhood (mid 1920's) in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.
"Ink Pink Pepper and Ink Stooby Stawby Stybey Stink"
The person the word "stink" landed on was either "it", or was the one to be eliminated from the game, depending on the circumstances.

09 Aug 09 - 01:47 AM (#2696213)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Peter Deery

In croydon surrey,they say it like this

eeni meeni mickaraca rare rye dominaca chicharacka lollipop ping pang push

08 Oct 09 - 04:31 PM (#2741452)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,annwebster

the one I learned from my mother. she was born in Darlington, uk in 1915., and she told me that she used to sing it with her friends around the street lamps near her house in central Darlington. I teach it now to my class of pupils in school.

'eena meena macca racca raro dominaca
alabacca jukalaca om pom push

12 Oct 09 - 11:11 AM (#2744157)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,John Owens

My Mother taught it to me on the Wirral in the 1940s

Our version -

       eena meena macca racca rare row domino
       arra barra judy arra um tum tush

the - ennie meenie minie mo etc. we also said but as something quite different

19 Oct 09 - 04:10 AM (#2747743)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

O.K. I cants takes no more........

eena meena mackeracka
dare doe dominacka
chick a pop, a lollipop
a rom bom bush.
a rom bom bush.
a rom, a rom, a rom, a-rom, a, rom, bom, bush..... your Out

Anyways what irish ever agreed with each other ???

Wonder why we are fighting for over 8 hundred years !!!

02 Dec 09 - 07:51 AM (#2778375)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Ben Knowles

Its obvious to me that it goes

Einie meanie macca racca
Rare Eye Dominacca
Chica Choca Lollipoppa
Rom Pom Push

MY mother taught it to me and she's always right

Though my dad taught me

Rim Strim Pimarickle
Leather Bone Ring Tale
Tim Tom Barny Kieno

He's from norfolk though so can be forgiven

13 Dec 09 - 08:58 AM (#2787358)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,harri

i learnt one which goes:

Eenie Meanie mackaracka
Dare door dominacka
Licka Locka lollipoppa
Om pom poosh OUT!

then the person who landed on 'out' was out of the circle, lol thats just how we played =]

08 Jan 10 - 02:11 PM (#2806805)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Rachel

Eany meany maka raka rare rye dominaka chika poka lollipop rom pom push! I love this rhyme and still use it daily lol! People think your crazy but then they realise the fasination and need to learn! He he x

22 Jan 10 - 02:56 PM (#2818742)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,RobinD

Well, let's keep this thread going for ever! Mine (South Staffordshire, around 1950) was:

Eeny meeny mackeracka
Rare rye dumeracka
Chickabocker lollipopper
Rum pum PUSH

And if you didn't like the answer when someone was rejected at push you ignored it and went on with:

O U T spells out so out you GO.

And yes, we also used the normal eeny, meeny minie mo (with "if" he hollers, not "when").

06 May 10 - 07:36 AM (#2901172)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Chloe

I never realised there were so many different versions or the chant.
I've forgotten the last part but we said...

Eeny meeny, maka raka
rare raa dumaraka
chicka barley lollipop
a red, white or blue?

Then the person being pointed at would choose between red, white or blue and the chant would continue..

blue is for sky,sky,sky
blue is for sky, so out goes you!

I think white was for cloud, but I can't remember what red stood for!!

Birmingham England

06 Jul 10 - 06:15 PM (#2940901)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

As children living in London in the 1960s/70s we used to say the following:-

Eeni meeni maca racka,
rare rye domin acka,
Chicka pocka lolli poppa,
Om pom push!

06 Aug 10 - 11:33 AM (#2959475)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Guest

My mother grew up in the Mile End road London in the 1920's and as well as the usual eena meena mackeracker also taught me;-
                   Eena meena mink monk tink tonk tarver
                   Izza vizza voo var vetch
   The 'monk 'to rhyme with 'tonk'not as in inmate of a monastery!Great thread;hope this helps!

22 Dec 10 - 08:55 AM (#3059247)
Subject: Scottish gibberish rym
From: GUEST,Nick

Dear Sir/Madam, I am trying to find a rym that my Grandmother once spoke in Gibberish. She was Scotts, and I only no the first few words and I not even sure of the spelling. Any way it's something like this.

Cash-a-Bunger-Gee-a-Gibbler, Something, Something,Something ,Something. Can you help.

Many thanks Nick

04 Feb 11 - 11:46 AM (#3088632)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Stu

I was brought up in Stokesley, north yorkshire and we were taught the following and it keeps popping back in my head every so often.

Eenie meeny makarakka hum pum pakkarakka, eenie meenie makkarakka hum pum push!

Not quite sure what game we played to it but it may have been an elimination game with push being the one that got "pushed" out.


04 Feb 11 - 11:55 AM (#3088641)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Eliza

My mum who was from Cork recited much the same thing, but she assured me with a perfectly straight face that it was Chinese!

02 Mar 11 - 09:16 AM (#3105578)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

I grew up learning "Inna minna mink monk ooja tuskins uzza buzza mekka tisha ah vi vex."

Apparently my grandmother was taught it by a german nanny that would have been the turn of the century.

22 Mar 11 - 05:52 AM (#3118824)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Hannah and Benedicte

ennie meanie maca raca rare ro dominaca chicka boca lollipoppa om pom pear push

25 Mar 11 - 07:14 PM (#3121624)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

The version taught to me in Ireland in the 1970's was:

Eeny Meany Macka Raka, Ray Row Domino,
Acka Packa Juli-acka, Tim Tom Tush!

It's interesting to see how it's a variant of the older one's above.

09 Apr 11 - 06:15 PM (#3132143)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

When my Grandmother got upset because we were about to do something that might hurt us she would blurt out "eeka meeka meeka makka mukka" although I am not sure because I sometimes remember it as smucka mu bucca ma boo. When she was not upset she could not remember it and said she did not know what it meant.

31 May 11 - 08:42 AM (#3163056)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,olivia kwiatkowska

i have one...

eeny meeny macka racka,

rea ro dominacka,

chicker bopper,
popo rum pum push

31 May 11 - 09:19 AM (#3163071)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: CheshireCat

Those of a certain age may remember a series called "The Comedians" which was broadcast on UK TV from the late 60s and into the 70s. It featured a collection of old-fashioned stand-up comics and launched a number of them into long and successful careers. The comedians included Mike Reid, Les Dawson, Frank Carson and others. In the popular northern club-circuit style of the time, the humour was not something many people would applaud these days - racial jokes were popular, and were even told with glee by Charlie Williams, the only black comedian on the show and a rarity in the profession at the time. Frank Carson, a northern Irishman, told Irish jokes. Bernard Manning was abusive towards everyone, which made him very popular at the time.

Anyway, the point of all this is that one of the Comedians - I think it was Frank Carson, but I'm open to correction - released a single based on that rhyme around 1970, which received some airplay on BBC Radio 1 - then the coolest station to listen to, despite employing Tony Blackburn. The lyrics went:

Eenie meenie mackeraka, om pom packeraka
Eenie meenie mackeraka, om pom push (x2)

Ip dip, chibberdy dip, you clap your hands and begin to skip
Ip dip, chibberdy dip, you can't wait around all day.

... and that was pretty much it. The "ip dip" bit suggests the lyrics (so to speak) were written around childish methods of deciding who was "it". I can't find any reference to the song (so to speak) but I know that I could never imagine anything quite like it, so it must be real. Anyone else remember this odd cultural item?

27 Jun 11 - 03:32 PM (#3177323)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Alan (originally from Kent)

I got the rhyme from my mother or at least my interpretation of what she was saying, it went,
eeny meeny macca racca rare ol domino
acca pacca touriacca
rom tom tush.
it seems of all the variations the first line stays pretty near the same.

05 Jul 11 - 01:40 PM (#3181922)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,tomkin

Indian version of the rhyme from a 1957 film

05 Jul 11 - 10:08 PM (#3182148)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

The poster, of course, is gargoyle....
MR. TomKin

PLEASE post lyrics - and where the YouTube gathered them from.

Some of us do not permit "FLASH" anything

PLEASE take the time to Listen - Transpose - and Post the words.

25 Oct 11 - 04:42 PM (#3244708)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Ben

Dot eena mena maka raka rare roe domino, all a pack o' doodle lack a rum tum toot. Ugila bugila boo. I die chucka die, chucka die chooney, oony poony umm pum piney. Alla balla west to the chinese chink!

Thats how i've always known it

24 Nov 11 - 01:30 PM (#3262782)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Kelly Maxwell

i know one i used to say it when I was 10 it goes:

Eenee Meenee Mackaracka Dare Die Dominicka Chickalakka Lolipoppa Oom Poom Push Split

24 Nov 11 - 01:42 PM (#3262790)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Kelly Maxwell

i got another one my sister sung it: my boyfriend gave me an apple my boyfriend gave me a pear my boyfriend gave my a kiss on the lips and threw me down the stairs. i gave him back his apple i gave him back his pear i gave him back his kiss on the lips and threw him down the stairs.
the next day we went to the sweet shop to buy some bubble gum and when he wasn't looking i stuck it up his bum. then we went to the movies to watch a horror film and when i wasn't looking he kissed another girl. i threw him over london i threw him over france i threw him over belgium bridge and ripped his underpants. (pants is pronounced Parnts to go with france

25 Nov 11 - 10:51 AM (#3263310)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Azizi

Date: 05 Jul 11 - 01:40 PM

I've just read your post which included the url for the Indian fun parody of that English children's counting rhyme and jazz musicians. Thanks for sharing that interesting find!

13 Mar 12 - 09:11 PM (#3322507)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Alan T

My great uncle Albert who lived from 1902-1979 used to tell me

Eeni meeni mackeraca er rye dominacka chicka packa lullapacka rum pum push

followed by a 2nd verse that started

Er rye chicka rye chickie rickie ....

Sorry but I cannot remember the rest but it held me mesmerised as a young boy.
Anyone else know the 2nd verse?
(spelling is as it sounded to me and may not be correct)

08 Jul 12 - 02:21 PM (#3373643)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

eena meena mackaracka
rare rah dominacka
chickabocka lollipopper
om pom push

09 Jul 12 - 08:10 AM (#3373907)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: blinddrunkal

my mother's version - which she claimed was in the Irish language (and mothers never lie) was eena meena mackarake rare rye dominaka iney finey pim pom piney carra carra waska.
The Indian version I've heard was by Asha Bhosle, titled "ina mika dika" and is on a record (or cd perhaps) called "Bollywood an anthology of songs from Popular Indian Cinema" on Silva Screen Reords.

13 Dec 12 - 09:08 AM (#3451345)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Chippy (interesting prignosser)

Ive heard of these ones...

ip skip sky blue
definitely not you

eenie meenie makaraka
rare rai dominaka
chikapaka lolipaka
rom pom push

eeni meenie miney mo
catch a granny by the fanny
if she moves pull her boobs
eenie meenie miney mo

03 Feb 13 - 08:18 PM (#3475444)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Dominacka

Eeny meeny mackaracka
Rare rye dominacka
Chickalacka lollipoppa
Om Pom push

From my nan born in 1920s west London

03 Feb 13 - 08:36 PM (#3475449)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Steve Shaw

Interesting how the versions vary, though you could surmise that much of it is just nuance/imperfect memory/hard-to-write-down words. But there is a definite dichotomy between those with "lollipop" or similar and those without.

31 May 13 - 03:58 AM (#3520986)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Paddy Cake

Here's an item of interest: Cocteau Twins recorded a song called "Donimo" on their 1984 album, Treasure. In the chorus of the song, Elizabeth Fraser distinctly sings "Eena meena eye rye mackaracka. Eeena meena eye rye dominacka." Check it out on YouTube.

31 May 13 - 07:44 PM (#3521351)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,ageing folky

I remember it as eene meene mackaracka
                Rare rye dominacka
                Chicka packa lollypoppa
                Om pom poosh

I might not have spelt it correctly but that's how I remember it from some 55-60 years ago

02 Sep 13 - 09:53 AM (#3555354)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,joan borland

i can sing this ded fast...

03 Sep 13 - 04:34 AM (#3555581)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: Rumncoke

The English version is 'catch a tinker by his toe'.

There are versions in the Oxford book of nursery rhymes.

05 May 14 - 05:46 PM (#3624274)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

Ar ai sugar ai Icker acker ony, ony pony om Pom piney
Alla walla whiskey Chinese chin

12 Aug 15 - 03:56 PM (#3729891)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

Eeny meny micaraca
Rare rie domeraca
Chi caraca rom Pom push a
Are are pony
Allaballa webster
Eapadore eapadore chinese chuck chuck
Out goes you with a one two and a three

My aunt taught me this when I was a child and my grandchildren now say it

24 Feb 16 - 08:25 PM (#3774843)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

My Nottingham Mum's version, which she would say (in the 1930's) --with hand clapping, I believe-- was
Eeny meeny mackeracka rare aye donnapacker chickapacker allapacker om pom PUSH!

03 Mar 16 - 02:30 PM (#3776539)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Pebutsu

Jake Thakray the late folk singer remembered it as a shepherd's sheep-counting rhyme:
Yan, Chan, Tether, Mether, Pip
Aysar, Saysar, Acker, Conder, Dick,
Yanadick, Chanadick, Tetheradick, Metheradick, Bumfit
Yanabum, Chanabum, Tetherabum, Metherabum, Jiggit.
The shepherd would then drop a pebble in a tin and start over.

03 Mar 16 - 03:11 PM (#3776553)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: keberoxu

This was lacking in my childhood, I feel deprived.

10 Mar 17 - 09:55 PM (#3844180)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

Learned this from my Dad as a child (late 1960's) no idea of spellings or meaning. His grandchildren have learned it too, I didn't realise that so many people knew a similar rhyme until now :)

Eeny meeny mackeracka
Rare row domanaker
chika pocker ollie pocker
om pom push

Arr Arr chickara
Rooney Pooney
Ping pong parney
Walla walla waxy
Chinese chick

12 May 17 - 05:56 PM (#3854672)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: FreddyHeadey

When people add the variant they've learned it would lovely if they could mention
the rough date they knew it
the district

10 Sep 17 - 07:34 PM (#3876406)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)

Eenie Meenie Makka-Rakka;
Dare, die, dominakka;
Chikka-rakka, om bom BUSH!

Wales, Pontypridd, 1982, from father who said he learned it in his childhood, same area, 10-20 years before.

21 Feb 18 - 02:15 AM (#3906846)
Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
From: GUEST,Margie

I learned this version at school in East London, South Africa in the 1950s/1960s. It was only recited and wasn't written down so I'm unsure of the spelling:

Eena meena macca racca
Ree rye dominacca
Chicka racca aller pacca
Om pom push