Nursery Rhyme & History
Action Rhyme reflected in the words of "Hickory, Dickory Dock"
A nonsense poem which uses alliteration where children mimic the sound of a clock chiming at the relevant point in the song. Hickory, dickory dock is intended to introduce children to the fundamentals of telling the time. Hickory, dickory dock is also known by another title "Hickory, dickory doc" inevitable perhaps due to the nonsensical nature of the words of Hickory, dickory dock! The first publication date for the "Hickory, dickory dock" rhyme is 1744. Investigation into the meanings of the words used in the rhyme lead us to believe that it has its origins in America.
The Origins of Hickory
Hickory is a derived from the North American Indian word 'pawcohiccora' which is an oily milk-like liquor that is pressed from pounded hickory nuts. The word `Pohickory'' was contained in a list of Virginia trees published in 1653. The word ' Pohickory' was subsequently shortened to `hickory.'
The Origins of Dock
Dock is a species of plant which has the Latin name of Rumex crispus. A well-known weed which has a long taproot making it difficult to exterminate. The Dock plant can be used as an astringent or tonic and many of us would have experienced the healing properties of the Dock leaf after being stung by a stinging nettle!