[Ads-l] ejaculatory "pop"

Baker, John JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM
Mon Mar 13 17:34:52 EDT 2017


Probably the "weasel" doesn't mean anything, in any reasonable objective sense.  "Pop Goes the Weasel" emerged in late 1852 and was an immediate international sensation, starting in Great Britain and quickly moving to Australia and America.  There is some evidence that initially it did not have words, other than the title.  There was broad and early confusion as to its meaning, even as more verses were being written and becoming popular.  This suggests that someone came up with a nonsense phrase, "pop goes the weasel," that matched up to a key portion of the music, then other people wrote words to accompany it.

If there is a meaning, it probably has something to do with money.  A number of the key verses refer to money, frequently including the key line, "That's the way the money goes."

Wikipedia suggests the possibility of a connection to a spinner's weasel:  "A spinner's weasel consists of a wheel which is revolved by the spinner in order to measure off thread or yarn after it has been produced on the spinning wheel. The weasel is usually built so that the circumference is six feet, so that 40 revolutions produces 80 yards of yarn, which is a skein. It has wooden gears inside and a cam, designed to cause a popping sound after the 40th revolution, telling the spinner that she has completed the skein."  Interesting, but I suspect it's no more than a coincidence.  I think the protagonist is generally understood to be a male cobbler, not a female spinner.


John Baker


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2017 1:23 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: ejaculatory "pop"

Yet even at a time when "pop" often meant "pawn," few people seem to have
subscribed to that interpretation, which is grammatically unlikely: "Pawn!
goes the weasel"?

With no context to suggest otherwise, the monkey and weasel in the rhyme
must be taken as actual animals, with the monkey in pursuit, rather than
obscure or mismatched metaphors.

Maybe the weasel goes "pop!" because he/she/it is taking off with a sudden
burst of speed. (See OED "pop," adj., 1. But OED, in the same article,
deff. 2, otherwise declines to explicate the weasel's "pop.")

JL



On Sun, Mar 12, 2017 at 11:29 AM, Robin Hamilton <
robin.hamilton3 at virginmedia.com> wrote:

> ... and of course, "pop" in that context indicates pawning an item.  In
> this
> case, Charley Wag rather than Bob's your uncle, as in Henley's translation
> of
> Villon, in "Villon's Straight Tip To All Cross Coves":  'It's up-the-spout
> and
> Charley-Wag ...'
>
> Robin
>
> (The Wiki entry on Pop Goes the Weasel --
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pop_Goes_the_Weasel -- is comprehensive, and
> rather good -- someone on this list responsible for the anonymous
> authorship of
> the same?  Kudos to whoever.   R.)
>
> >
> >     On 12 March 2017 at 14:50 Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> >     "All around the carpenter's bench" is how I learned it.
> >
> >     JL
> >
> >     On Sun, Mar 12, 2017 at 10:19 AM, Laurence Horn <
> laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> >     wrote:
> >
> >     > And it does add a whole new perspective on that hanky-panky between
> >     > monkey
> >     > and weasel in the neighborhood of that mulberry bush…
> >     >
> >     > LH
> >     >
> >     > > On Mar 12, 2017, at 8:48 AM, Jonathan Lighter <
> wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> >     > wrote:
> >     > >
> >     > > There seems to be no way to know, but I'm skeptical. Maybe he's
> just
> >     > > playing with the senses of "ask" and "explode." Given the
> context and
> >     > > the
> >     > > vast "antedating," this explanation seems somewhat more
> reasonable to
> >     > > me.
> >     > >
> >     > > OED's initial cite, btw, is from HDAS files.
> >     > >
> >     > >
> >     > >
> >     > > JL
> >     > >
> >     > > On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 8:21 PM, Joel Berson <berson at att.net>
> wrote:
> >     > >
> >     > >> Well, Arnold -- Larry? Jon? -- what's your evaluation of the
> 1722
> >     > "pop"?
> >     > >> Was the humorist and satirist Nathaniel Gardner innuendoing
> >     > >> [innuendo,
> >     > v.,
> >     > >> sense 3] ejaculation?
> >     > >>
> >     > >> Joel
> >     > >>
> >     > >>
> >     > >> From: Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> >     > >> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> >     > >> Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2017 6:09 PM
> >     > >> Subject: [ADS-L] ejaculatory "pop"
> >     > >>
> >     > >> citing ADS-L, on my blog:
> >     > >>
> >     > >> https://arnoldzwicky.org/2017/03/11/ejaculatory-pop/
> >     > >>
> >     > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >     > >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >     > >>
> >     > >>
> >     > >>
> >     > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >     > >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >     > >>
> >     > >
> >     > >
> >     > >
> >     > > --
> >     > > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle
> the
> >     > truth."
> >     > >
> >     > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> >     > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >     >
> >     > ------------------------------------------------------------
> >     > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >     >
> >
> >
> >
> >     --
> >     "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> > truth."
> >
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>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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