Back to index of "words and books and such" pages by Donald Sauter.
My Mother Goose pages:
    Mother Goose favorites - a personal selection.
    Mother Goose differences - a look at how the same rhyme can vary.
    Mother Goose modernized - a look at some rhymes touched up for kids of today.
    Mother Goose rarities - appearing for the first time on the world-wide web!
    Mother Goose and the Beatles - not to mention Bob Dylan and miscellaneous popsters.
    Mother Goose in classic literature - Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, Winnie the Pooh, et al.
    Mother Goose glossary - compare your vocabulary with a three-year-old's. (You are HERE.)
    Mother Goose first lines - a huge index.


Mother Goose Word Power!

Here are some of the nursery rhyme words that might send an average person to the dictionary. See? - you can learn something from Mother Goose!

an = and if; if. "If ifs and ans were pots and pans."
braw = fine, splendid. "And it's braw milking the kye."
broom = shrub with yellow or white flowers. "Under the broom is silver and gold."
bunting = hooded sleeping bag for infants. "Bye, baby bunting."
clout = piece of cloth, patch. "Cast not a clout till May be out." See also "shoon" below.
cock = cone-shaped pile of straw or hay. "He's under the haycock, fast asleep."
cockhorse = rocking horse. "Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross."
codlin = long, tapering apple. "Hot codlins."
corn = cereal plant such as wheat, rye, oats, or barley. "This is the farmer sowing his corn."
dam = a female, four-legged parent. "Skipping by their fleecy dams."
eke = also. "You parents that have children dear, and eke you that have none."
ell = 45 inches. "The late Madam Fry wore heels an ell high."
fairing = gift bought at a fair. "He promised he'd buy me a fairing should please me."
farrier = one who shoes horses. "The daughter of the farrier could find no one to marry her."
furmety = frumenty = cereal boiled in milk and flavored with sugar and spices. "Will you buy some furmety?"
Goody = polite title, short for Goodwife. "So will I," said Goody Fry.
Grahamites = follower of Sylvester Graham's vegetarianism. "Whilst all the cats, turned Grahamites."
humblebee = bumblebee. "The fly shall marry the humble-bee."
ken = know. "And do you ken Elsie Marley, honey?"
kirk = a church. "I went into the woods and built me a kirk."
link = torch used to light one's way in the streets. "Who'll carry the link? I, said the linnet."
may = the blossoms of the hawthorn. "Here we come gathering nuts an' may."
mickle = great. "Robin Hood is in the the mickle wood!"
moil = to toil, slave. "He moileth and toileth all the long year."
moppet = a young child. "I had a little moppet, I had it in my pocket."
ostler = hostler = stableman. "John ostler, go and get a duck or two."
pease = a pea. "Pease-porridge hot."
philibeg = filibeg = kilt. "Tartan trews and a philibeg."
physic = medicine or drug. "And said he liked physic better than cake."
pink = a fragrant flower. "The pink is sweet, and so are you."
porringer = shallow cup or bowl with a handle. "What is the rhyme for porringer?"
posy = flower or bunch of flowers. "Nobody's toeses are posies of roses."
pye = magpie, I think. "A pye sat on a pear tree." Note some versions say "pie", and are illustrated with a baked pie.
rue = aromatic plant with evergreen leaves that yield an acrid oil used in medicine. Listed in "Rosemary Green."
shoon = cool plural for shoes. "A cobbler clouting shoon." Note: clout is not clobber.
stile = steps for crossing a fence or wall. "Against a crooked stile."
trews = close-fitting trousers, usually of tartan. "Tartan trews and a philibeg."
truckle-bed = trundle bed (truckle = small wheel or roller). "And she stood upon her head, upon her little truckle-bed."
wot = know. "You wot well who they be."


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