[Ads-l] ejaculatory "pop"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 14 16:30:33 EDT 2017


Here is more information about the citation located by Peter.

Date: Friday 18 June 1852
Newspaper: Newcastle Courant
Newspaper Location: Tyne and Wear, England
Article: Durham Regatta
Quote Page 5, Column 5
Database: British Newspaper Archive

Article about boat racing, the Durham Regatta
The phrase "Pop goes the Weasel" seems to be the name of a boat.

[Begin excerpt - errors present - difficult to read]
The Scurry Stakes, a skiff race, for amateurs. A silver
medal, To be pulled in cutters. Fouling, except by hand,
allowed.--Water Nymph--C.C. Chevalier, 1; Corpo di Bac-
cho--J.H. Carr, 0; Pop goes the Weasel--Hon. M. B. Port-
man, 0; La Belle--J. Bell, 0. After some amusing manoeu-
vres, Mr. Chevallier went in alone.
[End excerpt]

On Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 3:49 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
> "Pop Goes the Weasel", the dance, first seems to appear in British newspapers in December 1852.  It appears regularly thereafter.  The "pop" in the dance is the popping of a dancer under the arms of the another couple, as Amy West mentioned.  The steps are described in a dance text published in 1852, which refers to the dance (if not the phrase) as an old dance being revived.  Several references refer to numerous silly lyrics set to the same song soon after the tune and phrase becomes popular.
>
>
> I found one earlier outlier reference - from a sports report in a British newspaper in June 1852.  I do not have access to the image of the page - the search result text snippet seems to be in a list of horses lining up for a particular race, or it could mean something else which may be apparent from the image.  Can anyone help with that?
>
>
> "... pulled in cutters. Foaling, eucept by hand, allowed.- Water Nymph-C. C. Chevalier, I; Corpo di Bac- rho-J. 11. Carr, 0 aop goes the Weasel-Hon. M. B. Port- man, 0; La Belle-S. Bell, 0. After some amusing malneso- vies, Mr Chevallier welt in alone. FINAL RACF ..."
>
>
> Newcastle Courant, June 18, 1852 (britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).
>
>
> About one year later, after the tune, dance and song became a craze, the expression "pop went the weasel" shows up in a British horse racing magazine.  In one example, it appears to refer to the start of a race, but it is unclear whether the usage is influenced by the song craze or suggests a possible origin of the song.
>
>
> ". . . down went the flag, and figuratively defining the consequence, “pop went the weasel” – that is to say, off went Lord Exeter’s two, that constituted the field."
>
>
> The Sporting Magazine (London), Volume 22, Number 1, July 1853, page 6 (HathiTrust).
>
>
> "Nutpecker picked up, as promised, the Drawing-Room Stakes for Lord Exeter; and an exceedingly economic sweepstakes being disposed of ... "pop went the weasel."
>
>
> The Sporting Magazine (London), Volume 22, Number 2, August 1853, page 84.
>
>
> The same magazine also includes one reference to the song being played at an event.
>
>
> The fact that several of the common lyrics recite "that's the way the money goes" may or may not be related to the word "pop" or "weasel".  That line appears to be influenced by an earlier popular song, "That's the Way the Money Goes" (sometimes "That's How the Money Goes") which was, itself very popular, frequently mentioned, and reported as being hummed and sung all over the place.  The expression "that's how the money goes" was also regularly used idiomatically in quotations during the years leading up to 1853.
>
>
> The earlier song, like "Pop goes the weasel," appeared in numerous forms.  All of them seem to go through several iterations of how people spend or waste their money, frequently contrasting how poor people and the idle rich choose to spend their money.  "That's the Way the Money Goes" was generally said to be sung to the tune of "Monseer Nong Tong Paw", which dates to about 1806; a song played with a 6/8 time signature, as is "Pop Goes the Weasel".
>
>
> I get the impression that "That's the Way the Money Goes" may have been an American song, made popular in England by minstrel shows.  The British "Pop goes the weasel" lyrics relating to tupenny rice and treacle, and then going up and down the City Road and visiting The Eagle tavern ("that's the way the money goes") seem directly influenced by the earlier song and its theme of how people spend their money.
>
>
> It could just be a case of combining an expression from an old song with a new popular catch-phrase and tune.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Baker, JohnJBAKER at STRADLEY.COM <mailto:ads-l%40listserv.linguistlist.org?Subject=Re%3A%20%5BAds-l%5D%20ejaculatory%20%22pop%22&In-Reply-To=%3CEB0CB1BF11E37448B61DC93FCDF3EDE25D271BB6%40PHEXMB01.stradley.com%3E>
> Mon Mar 13 17:34:52 EDT 2017
>
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>
> ________________________________
>
> 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
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
> Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 9:30:22 AM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: ejaculatory "pop"
>
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
> Subject:      Re: ejaculatory "pop"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> It was a popular dance in the 1860s. I've done it at vintage dances.
> It's a set dance (I think I'm using that term correctly). General
> description of the dance: 2 lines of dancers facing each other. Top
> couple is active: they take hands, grab hands with lady, circle 2 1/2
> times, when she's facing her space, the top couple raise hands and "pop"
> her back into her place (by pushing her under the arch of their hands).
> Repeat with the gent. Oh, crap, I forgot, the top couple casts off and
> walks down and back up the outside and then back into place first, and
> then there's more walking down and back on the inside after the circling.
>
> I hate this dance. I always screw up the progression because it happens
> at an odd place in the dance. And our practice music was plinky banjo music.
>
> I have no idea if you can find video of the vintage dance on YouTube.
> You might.
>
> ---Amy West
>
>
> On 3/14/17 12:00 AM, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
>> Date:    Mon, 13 Mar 2017 21:34:52 +0000
>> From:    "Baker, John"<JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM>
>> Subject: Re: ejaculatory "pop"
>>
>> 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
>
>
>
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>
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