This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Saturday Rave: hey diddle fiddle.

It's easy to get hung up on the meanings of words.

I must admit that having meaning is one of their main purposes, but it's not their only purpose.

How about this:

Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such fun
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

I realise that this rhyme may hide a deeper meaning - I'll look it up in a minute* - but if it does have a deeper meaning then it's hidden so completely that I can't begin to guess what it might be.

For all practical purposes the rhyme Hey diddle diddle is just for fun. It presents us with a energetic and baffling chaos that's thoroughly cheering.


...the trouble is, now I'm wondering if I ought to say something deep about post-modernism.

On the whole, though, it's generally better not.

Word To Use Today: hey. Similar words have been used for a long time in many languages. In Old French it was hay, and in Swedish hej. In South Africa hey is used for emphasis at the end of a statement and to ask for something ti be repeated.

*It turns out that there are loads and loads of theories as to the rhyme's hidden meaning - lots of them hinge on cat being short for Catherine - but quite honestly I don't believe any of them.


  1. In learning Spanish and Romanian, one of the hardest things to understand is children's nursery rhymes ... because they make so little sense. And English is exactly the same - there's just huge swathes of nonsense thrown in to confuse children and learners of the language.

    Hickory dickory dock ...
    Eeny meeny miny moe ...
    Wee willy winkie ...

    Etc, etc.

    1. Huge swathes of nonsense thrown in to confuse children...

      Oh that really why so little of it makes sense?

      I was hoping there was something cuddlier in there, somewhere.