Incy Wincy Spider Nursery Rhyme Has A Dark Meaning That’s Not Kid-Friendly At All

Incy Wincy Spider
Credit: BBC Teach via YouTube

The nursery rhyme ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ has a dark meaning that’s not kid-friendly at all.

As most of us have got older, we have come to realise that some of our favourite rhymes we used to sing along to are actually incredibly sinister.

‘Rain Rain Go Away’ ends with the old man dying, while ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ is about thousands of people who passed away during the Great Plague of London in 1665.

Now, people are discovering the dark meaning behind another famous nursery rhyme.

Watch this woman discuss the dark meaning behind nursery rhymes below…

For those who need reminding of how ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ goes, it is: “Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout, down came the rain, and washed the spider out.

“Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain, and Incy Wincy Spider went up the spout again.”

However, the nursery rhyme is actually based on a song from just after the American Civil War that is incredibly dark.

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This song is called ‘Tipsy Dipsy Hobo’ and has a similar tune to ‘Incy Wincy Spider’.

The song goes along the lines of: “The Tipsy Dipsy Hobo drinks from the lager spout, here comes the train it knocks the hobo out.

“Out comes a man to pick up all the brains, but a Tipsy Dipsy Hobo drinks from the spout again.”

The origins of this song come from a time when trains were becoming more popular – and the poor would try to jump onto them while moving as a way of getting around, usually while drunk.

TikTok user @my_man_jackie has further broken down the meaning of the lyrics.

He explains: “It turns out that the ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ is an incredibly dark metaphor for alcoholism.

“When it talks about crawling up the water spout, it talks about the fact the man starts drinking.

“And when it talks about down comes the rain and it washed the spider out, it means he drunk too much and it’s finished him off.”

He ended his video by adding that the song originates from ‘Tipsy Dipsy Hobo’ before claiming it became a nursery rhyme to stop children from drinking.

@my_man_jackie The Dark Truth Behind Nursery Rhymes Pt.3 #fy #nurseryrhyme #storytime #childhood #memory #kid #alcohol #spider #originstory #song #interesting #story ♬ Stranger Things (From “Stranger Things”) – Remaster – Collosia

People have taken to social media to discuss the meaning behind ‘Incy Wincy Spider’, along with other nursery rhymes.

One person says: “I thought it was a metaphor.

“The spider being the lower class striving to climb the social ladder.

“The rain being the upper class. And the sun being hope.”

A second user adds: “Most nursery rhymes are dark and have a different meaning.”

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“Well, I never knew this. I know the ‘Ring Around The Rosie’ but I didn’t know it meant drinking,” adds a third.

“Now this I did not know,” says a fourth.

Well there you have it, turns out this seemingly harmless nursery rhyme has a much darker meaning.

But saying that, it seems the most popular songs we would sing as children have a dark origin behind them.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.