Polly put the kettle on and we’ll all have a nursery rhyme name!

February 5, 2015 Linda Rosenkrantz

With their lilting rhythms and catchy rhymes, nursery rhymes have delighted successive generations of children since the first publication of Mother Goose in the 1700s—though the original meanings, some of them political, have been lost. (Who knew that ‘Ring Around a Rosy’ referred to the Great Plague of 1665?) The names used very much reflected the small stockpot of those in current use —so a preponderance of Marys, Sallys, Bettys, Jacks, Georgies, Peters, Toms and Tommys, Billys and Willies–but there were a few more original names, and here are a dozen of the best.


Polly put the kettle on, Polly out the kettle on, We’ll all have tea.--- Peppy Polly is definitely due for a comeback, newly visible on the show Orange is the New Black as lead character Piper Chapman’s bff from college, mother of a baby named Finn. And though poor Polly has been off the Social Security list since 1977, she has enough fans on Nameberry to bring her to Number 457.


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