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Pop goes the weasel

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on January 14, 2010 at 13:40

In Reply to: Pop goes the weasel posted by Dave on January 14, 2010 at 10:44:

: I once heard that the 'weasel' in Pop Goes the Weasel, was a type of large flat iron made in Germany by a company called Weizel, hence something of limited use that could be pawned or 'popped' for a while before it was needed, anyone one else heard this version?

I had heard it said that there was a type of flat-iron called a "tailor's weasel" which is what the rhyme refers to (the bit about Weizel" is a new one on me), but I have never seen any evidence offered. The Oxford English Dictionary entry on "weasel" does not mention any such meaning. Nor does the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase & Fable offer this explanation; it does say "In the mid 19th century, Pop goes the weasel was also the name of a popular country dance, in which one dancer would dance under the arms of the others to his or her partner to the tune of the rhyme". This rather implies that the allusion was to a weasel's characteristic dodging-in-and-out movements. (VSD)