Ip dip

Ip dip is a rhythmic counting-out game with many variations, the purpose of which is to select an individual from a group, for instance to choose the starting player of a game. It has been commonly used in British playgrounds for many years.

The speaker of the rhyme points to a different person in order as each stressed syllable is spoken; the person pointed to as the final syllable is spoken is thereby elected.

The aim is to delay and distract from counting the syllables or otherwise fixing the result; the rhyme should be so long that the speaker loses count and cannot predict the chosen person. Perhaps this unpredictability is the reason that there are so many variations, including the practice of stringing variations together which may be considered cheating.


A Welsh version of the rhyme runs:

Ip dip dip /
My blue [or little] ship /
Sailing on the water /
Like a cup and saucer,/
But you are not in it.[1]

Other recorded versions include:

Ip dip doo, /
The cat's got the flu, /
The dog's got chicken pox, /
So out goes you.[2]
Ip dip doo /
Doggy did a poo /
Went to the cinema at half-past two /
When the film started /
Everybody farted /
Out goes you.[2]

See also


  1. Olmert, Michael (1996). Milton's Teeth and Ovid's Umbrella: Curiouser & Curiouser Adventures in History, p.121. Simon & Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-684-80164-7.
  2. 1 2 Roud, Steve (2010). The lore of the playground : one hundred years of children's games, rhymes and traditions. London: Random House Books. ISBN 1-905211-51-1.
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