You are watching: Fee fi fo fum i smell the blood of an englishman



It"s a nonsense phrase, emerged by the writer of the old fairy tales "Jack and also the Beanstalk". That is generally expressed together fee-fi-fo-fum and also it has actually no an interpretation or relevance besides the reality that it provides a practiced couplet designed come strike terror into the listener"s heart. Together a boy hearing this story, I constantly imagined the huge stomping his feet come the win of fee-fi-fo-fum and making the ground shake and poor Jack"s knee tremble.

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Wikipedia covers the an interpretation well and has this come say about Jack the large Killer:

Neither Jack or his tale are referenced in literary works prior to the eighteenth century, and his story walk not appear in publish until 1711. It is probable resourceful publisher assembled a number of anecdotes about giants to kind the 1711 tale.

The post mentions the in wilhelm Shakespeare’s play, King Lear (written in between 1603 and also 1606), Edgar exclaims:

Fie, foh, and also fum, i smell the blood of a brother man.

The write-up goes on to explain:

The city in King Lear provides use that the antiquated word "fie", provided to refer disapproval. This indigenous is offered repeatedly in Shakespeare"s works, King Lear self shouting, "Fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!" and also the personality of mark Antony (in Antony and Cleopatra) just exclaiming "O fie, fie, fie!" words "fum" has actually sometimes been understood as "fume". Formations such together "fo" and "foh" are maybe related come the expression "pooh!", i m sorry is offered by one the giants in Jack the Giant-Killer; such conjectures largely suggest that the phrase is the imitative origin, rooted in the sounds of flustering and also anger.

However, King Lear isn"t the an initial work in i m sorry the expression appears. dramatist thomas Nashe in 1596 created in Have through You come Saffron-Walden the passage:

O, tis a priceless apothegmaticall Pedant, that will finde issue inough to dilate a whole daye that the first inuention of Fy, fa, fum, i smell the bloud of an rwcchristchurchappeal.comman

So it seems that writers have puzzled over the origins of this chant and also what it means for over 4 centuries!