"Catch a ??? by the toe." A survey.

Long story short, a text I’m reading for my History classs this Thursday has prompted me to ask the following question:

When you were growing up, what word did you use in the following chant?

“Eeny, meany, miney, moe!
Catch a ??? by the toe.”

Please let me know your age (if you don’t mind) and where you were born and raised. I’ll explain after some folks have posted what I’m after here.

Me: “Tiger,” age 34, Parma, Ohio (now living in Cleveland).

My husband: “Pickle,” 35, Twinsburg, Ohio.

Me: “Tiger”* 32 Chicago 'burbs

  • I heard nigger by the time I was 7, while vacationing in Memphis.


Age - 42

Various spots in Michigan


I learnt it from a kid at school as ‘nigger’, when I was about 6. This was swiftly corrected by my parents to ‘monkey’.

Sorry, forgot: 23, England.

Tiger. I heard friends use the n word, and I was always surprised to hear it.

32, female, raised in southern Alberta, Canada.

Tiger. I’m 50, and I spent my childhood in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD.

The “bad” kids in the neighborhood used the “N” word. :eek:

I’m 41 and from Texas.

I had several black friends. So we usually did, “one potato, two potato”, for obvious reasons. :slight_smile:

I had never heard the “tiger” by the toe version until Buck Owens did the song…or was that by the tail?

All the kids at my school used Tigger, as in the Winnie the Pooh character.

I’m 25 and grew up near Vancouver, BC.

“tiger”, 30. I would have first encountered the rhyme growing up in New Jersey. I never knew there were other versions until recently.

I’m forty-three and grew up in Northern California. We always said “monkey” although I always seemed to know there was a “n” word version. I never heard of using “tiger” until it was brought up a while ago on these boards.

Same with Brazil nuts–my Grandfather called them “n” toes, but it wsn’t an option for any of my mother’s kids.

“Tiger”. I never heard “the n word” version until very recently. As a kid, I wondered about “My mother punched your mother …”. It never occurred to me that eenie, meenie, miney mo might be worrisome.

42, various eastern states, but eastern PA after age 8 or so.

19, female, ontario

“Tiger” or “Tigger”

The “n” word, originally, then “tiger” as in Winnie.

26, born and raised in Brampton, Ontario.

Ditto for me, except I’m 33.

wow! that rhymed!

THis thread has been up a little more than half an hour and it already has 15 posts!!! AMazing! Keep 'em coming folks! I might actually bring this up in class on Thursday.

“Tiger” was known, but we mainly used “one-potato…”, because you could easily predict where “'eenie-meenie” was going to land.

Male, 36, Northern California.



Houston, TX

Growing up in Red Deer, Alberta, we always used ‘tiger’. I never even knew that it was originally ‘nigger’ until I was about 15 years old. when I heard my Grandpa say it that way. I couldn’t believe he had said that!

BTW, I’m 24 now.

Both tiger and nigger.

Tiger was by far more common though. Only a couple of people used the other one.