29 Sep 2006

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe -2

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I fell to wondering about the origins of the Eeny Meeny Miney Moe counting rhyme, and I searched around and found the answer in a dead post.

It’s Scottish and very old.


Eeny meeny miney mo

Inimicus animo is Latin for “enemy of the soul”.

Catch the nigger by the toe

“The nigger” is really a reference to the devil. (Variants actually saying “the devil” are known.)

If he hollers let him go

If you grab his toe and he protests, he’s human, and you should let him go. The devil has a cloven hoof which will not feel pain if pinched.


My source was on the British Phrases board in 2003, and signed himself Kai Lung. He was clearly quite right.

I’ve used the n word. No Senate seat for me.

7 Feedbacks on "Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe -2"


My old Irish grandmother used to tell us that along with the other old ones.

Like “Taffy was a Welshman” (extended verses upon request)

Not entirely flattering to Welshmen. :)

El Cid

yep, politcal career is finished for sure


Thank you for sharing the Origins of Eeny Meeny Miney Moe. I love such trivial knowkedge, and I think you would be a great senator.

Thanks Again


i was taught that the rhyme was simply a song made during the times of slavery just to taunt the slaves. as people did daily.


You were obviously taught wrong.

I don’t suppose you’d get a lot of useful work from your servants, or have very good relations with them, if you made a point of putting them in a bad mood by taunting them daily, would you?


Stumbling upon your delightful site whilst researching the devilish nature of corporate things too numerous to list, just a quick thank-you, for your wit and erudition.

With regards to the Senate seat, I’d vote for you in a minute!

Then again, neither you nor I would likely be running for any sort of candidacy–I expect that the only the dullest of humans aspire to political office these days; perhaps “dull” is somewwhat synonymous with “politically correct.” ;-)

“No Senate seat for me…” could be the first line of some excellent doggerel. I’m inspired, but must get back to researching the nefarious corporate affairs which led me here in the first place. Should you hear future mentions of “Podiatry and Psychopathy:…”, it all started here, you get full credit for the inspiration behind the investigative research and subsequent press.

In any event, “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe” is fascinating! It makes perfect sense, really–a litmus test to ferret out devils from non-devils; much gentler than the traditional double-bind “Trial by Ordeal” (witch buoyancy and so forth) If only every political candidate and potential corporate officer had to remove his shoes and submit to gentle toe-pinching ;-)

Socks with sandals jokes are coming to mind, as are “Men who come to bed with their socks on” and parodies of the excellent Joe Cocker song featured in 9 1/2 weeks.

Thanks again for your site!

Larry Poke

It’s just a bit weird that a currently running Allstate Insurance commercial has their spokesperson, a black man, using: “Eenie meenie mina mo, catch a TIGER by the toe.” Someone made a REALLY stupid mistake.


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