counting-out rhyme

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counting-out rhyme

gibberish formula used by children, usually as a preliminary to games in which one child must be chosen to take the undesirable role designated as "It" in the United States, "It" or "He" in Britain, and "wolf," "devil," or "leper" in some other countries. Among the most popular rhymes are those having the refrain "Eeny, meeny, miny, mo." Players form a line or a circle and a caller dubs each in turn with a word of the rhyme. The one on whom the last word or syllable falls is eliminated, and the rhyme is repeated until all are counted out except the one who is "It."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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