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Re: Pop goes the weasel

Posted by Henry on December 29, 2003

In Reply to: Pop goes the weasel posted by Quitnus Farrell on December 29, 2003

: weasel in the nursery rhyme probably comes from weasel and stoat rhyming with coat and not a corruption of whistle and flute meaning suit, as stated on your site.

From World Wide Words
The City Road had a pawnbroker's shop near its west end and to pop was a well-known phrase at the time for pawning something. So the second verse says that visiting the Eagle causes one's money to vanish, necessitating a trip up the City Road to Uncle to raise some cash. But what was the weasel that was being pawned? Nobody is sure. Some suggest it was a domestic or tailor's flat-iron, a small item easy to carry. My own guess is that it's rhyming slang: weasel and stoat = coat. Either way, it seems to have been a punning reinterpretation of the catch line from the older dance.