How to say Eeny Meeny Miny Moe in French

Do French kids share? Just in case they don't, this handy little rhyme will help solve that debate of who has the right to what. In French no less.
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If you have small children, especially if you have more than one, you’ve probably had to try to resolve a few arguments. Even French kids fight a lot, and mine certainly do.

“C’est mon tour!  It’s my turn!” 

“C’est à moi!” “It’s mine!”

It is amazing how kids everywhere are all the same. And even more amazing what they are ready to fight about. In desperation one day, I hit upon the ultimate solution to solving this oh-so-important dilemma of whose toy it is: Eeny, meeny, miny, moe in French.

Am Stam Gram

Now, if you recall, the English version is as follows:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe,
If he cries, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Unsurprisingly, my kids looked at me like I had transformed into an alien. A foreign alien.

Of course, the rhyme is not the same in French.  (I say unsurprisingly because these sort of things still surprise me.  “What do you mean it’s not the same?  Why doesn’t everybody just use Eeny, meeny?!”)

The French version, of course, is a bit different:  

Am, stram, gram,
Pic et pic et colégram,
Bour et bour et ratatam
Am, stram, gram; pic!

If you are wondering what that sounds like, here it is:

It’s not really clear what it means, the words are not French.  Some historians say it is Germanic in nature, while others say it could just be an incantation, similar to Abracadabra in English.  But when you think about it, Eeny, meeny, miny, moe doesn’t really mean anything either!  

Additional Verses to Am Stram Gram

There is sometimes an additional verse in French that does make a bit more sense:

French lyricEnglish translation
Mais comme le Roi (et la reine)
ne le veut (veulent) pas,
ça sera toi !
Since the King and the queen
don’t want it,
it will be you!

Does it really help french kids share though?  The jury is still out chez moi.

Plouf Plouf

Now if you are not sure about blabbering gibberish, there is the much more sensical Plouf plouf.

French lyricEnglish translation
Plouf, plouf, plouf
C’est toi qui sera le chat
Mais si le roi n’le veut pas
Ce sera toi
Splash, splash, splash
You will be the cat
But if the king doesn’t want it
It will be you
Plouf, plouf, plouf
C’est toi qui sera l’andouille
Mais si le roi n’le veut pas
Ce sera toi
Splash, splash, splash
It’s you who will be the lazy sausage
But if the king doesn’t want it
It will be you
Plouf, plouf, plouf
C’est toi, le gros patapouf
Mais si le roi n’le veut pas
Ce sera toi
Splash, splash, splash
It’s you, the large child
But if the king doesn’t want it
It will be you
Plouf, plouf, plouf
C’est toi qui sera le roi,
Mais si le roi n’le veut pas
Ce sera moi
Splash, splash, splash
You will be the king,
But if the king doesn’t want it
It will be me

Rather long, but it does seem to work. You can also substitute Roi (King) for Reine (Queen).

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Do you have a similar rhyme in your country? If you enjoyed that, you may enjoy some other famous French nursery rhymes, lullabies, and songs for children here.

A bientôt!

¹ Featured Image: by Samantha Hurley

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How to say Eeny Meeny Miny Moe in French

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