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"Little Tommy Tucker" is an English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19618.[1]

"Little Tommy Tucker"
1901 illustration by William Wallace Denslow
Nursery rhyme
Publishedc. 1744


Common modern versions include:

Little Tommy Tucker
Sings for his supper.
What shall we give him?
Brown bread and butter.
How shall he cut it
Without a knife?
How will he be married
Without a wife?[2]


The earliest recorded version of this rhyme is from Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book (c. 1744), which has only four lines.[2] The full version was produced in Mother Goose's Melody (c. 1765).[2] There are references to various parts of the rhyme in earlier works.[2] To 'sing for one's supper' was a proverbial phrase by the seventeenth century. An excellent new Medley (c. 1620) included the line 'Tom would eat meat but wants a knife'.[2]

Various Thomas Tuckers have been identified, including a Bachelor of Arts who was appointed 'Prince or Lorde of the Revells' at St. John's College, Oxford, in 1607, and a 'Tom Tuck' who appears in one of John Herrick's epigrams in Witt's Recreations (1640).[2]

See alsoEdit

  • Tommy Tucker, a performing squirrel who sold war bonds during WWII


  1. ^ "Roud Folksong Index S377998 Little Tom Tucker sings for his supper". Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 416–7.

External linksEdit