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Pop yer clogs

Posted by David FG on June 03, 2006

In Reply to: Pop yer clogs posted by ESC on June 02, 2006

: : who knows where the phrase "pop yer clogs" comes from. We have a hypothesis that it comes from people pawning goods to pay for the funeral.

: : look forward to hearing comments

: Here's one theory from the archives courtesy of Mr. Briggs:

: Possibly to pawn one's clogs. As clogs were once essential, this would only be done if one had no further need of them - if one was dead.

: The word 'pop', meaning to 'pawn', is an integral part of the Victorian song 'Pop goes the weasel', where a 'weasel' is thought to be a tradesman's specialised tool. The above suggested origin for 'pop your clogs' rings very true to me.

Pop certainly means pawn. The song, 'Pop Goes the Weasel' referred to workers in the print industry and the lines go (from memory):

'All along the City Road,
In and out the Eagle' (a pub)
That's the way the money goes;
Pop goes the weasel.'

'Popping' was not so final as might be thought: it was common for people to pawn goods as a means of raising temporary cash, and then redeeming those goods when they were paid: a man's suit was a common item to undergo this process.