Meaning of "the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker" ?

I heard someone use that line from a t.v show but I do not fully understand what the meaning behind it is. I searched it but all I got was that its from a nursery rhyme. Can someone please tell me the real meaning behind it? Even BETTER if you can use it in a sentence :) Thank you.

If you're going to say "its from a nursery rhyme rub a dub dub dub" then do NOT answer.
I found it link


Most Helpful Guy

  • Unless you can give us the specific context from your example, I doubt anyone can answer this.

    The line is from a famous late-18th century nursery rhyme, as you know, and while I can't find a reference to the original meaning of this one, most nursery rhymes were lightly-masked political commentary of the day. Most were criticizing the government, religion, or significant public figures, but only making oblique references to the people and events in question in order to create plausible deniability, since direct criticism was often considered treason.


What Guys Said 8

  • Originally, it was intended as a reference to the general blue-collar populace. Meaning "everyman " in a sense.

  • It's from an English nursery rhyme "rub-a-dub-dub".

    I don't think it has any special meaning.

    • Im sure it does have a meaning behind it...

    • Show All
    • plus I stated the what the meaning behind it was. Not asking where its from. Sorry if you felt offended, that is not my purpose. I hope to be civil with you and I do appreciate the fact that you put in some of your time to answer my question.

    • No problem, peace. :)

      Actually these rhymes pop in my head every now and then and I always look them up. There are so many variations and they almost never match the way I remember. As far as political meanings, I think a lot of that is speculation, but who knows.

      Historically it would be cool if there was. But I don't know how much of that is true and how much is wishful thinking because we like to cheer the underdog, and hidden political meanings appeals to the rebel in us. :D

  • The original version goes: `Hey, rub-a-dub, ho, rub-a-dub, three maids in a tub. And who do you think were there? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and all of them going to the fair.' Now this version goes back to about the 14th century. And in a sense, it's bang up to date at the same time. British tabloids love stories about respectable tradesfolk doing--being caught in places they shouldn't be caught in. Today it would be perhaps a lap-dancing venue. They love celebrities being caught out. In this case, it's a fairground attraction with naked ladies, which the--can you say pooge on American radio? The upper-class, the respectable tradesfolk--the candlestick maker and the butcher and the baker--are ogling, getting an eyeful of some naked young ladies in a tub. And that's "Rub-a-Dub-Dub," essentially.

  • Reminds me of ring around the posey.. Such a messed up nursery rhyme.

    • yeah it is, it is a about the black death. the all fall down is about dropping dead.

  • Yes they filled basic needs...but this also symbolizes diversity Tessa...your life would not be as easy if people like me did not supply printing..and other people were not sausage makers or school teachers...<3<3<3=D

  • They are the 3 men who might be my real father. Mom slept around a lot. ;)

  • Jack of all trades maybe


What Girls Said 1

  • This is pretty interesting! Thanks!