nursery rhymes, verses, generally brief and usually anonymous, for children. The best-known examples are in English and date mostly from the 17th cent. A popular type of rhyme is used in "counting-out" games, e.g., "Eenie, meenie, minie, mo." The subject matter of the rhymes has been linked by some scholars to actual events in English political history. Most famous of nursery rhymes is the Mother Goose collection.
See Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, ed. by I. and P. Opie (1952); studies by L. Eckenstein (1906, repr. 1968) and H. Bett (1924, repr. 1973).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.