[Ask Hyojin] What is eeny, meeny, miny, moe in Korean?

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Have you wondered what the Korean version of “eeny, meeny, miny, moe”? In this episode of Ask Hyojin, Hyojin and Keith will explain how Koreans usually do it! If you have any questions that you’d like Hyojin to answer in the next episode, leave them in the comment below!

Also be sure to check out Keith’s website, http://Seoulistic.com and his YouTube channel, http://youtube.com/seoulisticvideos too!

 

Watch all the episodes of Ask Hyojin here


  • Ale

    In Mexico we say “de tin marín” for choosing between options, and for making teams we usea game called “disparejo” which is similar to what you did, only that you either point your thumb up or down

  • Molpaka Deva

    We don’t have “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” in Thailand but we have the same thing when we make a team as “데덴지.” which we pronounce “O-Noi-Ook”.

  • Jerre Mae Tamanal

    Philippines’ Version:

    Pen pen de sarapen,
    de kutsilyo de almasen
    Haw, haw de carabao batutin

    Sipit namimilipit ginto’t pilak
    Namumulaklak sa tabi ng dagat.

    Sayang pula tatlong pera
    Sayang puti tatlong salapi

    The verses don’t make much sense but the words are fun to say. Filipino children use it to select the person who’s going to be the “it” in a game. It’s the Tagalog version of the English counting rhyme “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”

    • Sofia

      It is not eeny, meeny, miny, moe in Philippines. =.=

  • Darrell LuAllen

    Keith’s not wrong about how teams get picked for kid’s games or in gym class. Two team captains pick members for their teams with the best people usually picked first. It’s not the only way though just one of the most common. I like the Korean way much better. But I see the chance that a lot of people might end up on one team with only a couple on the other. How do you even it out? Is it common for friends to always pick the same hand direction to always be on the same team?

  • Stephanie Kukreja

    I don’t know if this is only in the southern part of the U.S. but we used “Skunk in the Barnyard” a lot.
    (sung to the tune of Shave and a haircut)
    Skunk in the barnyard, pee yoo!
    Somebody ate him, that’s you!
    When did it happen? Last night!
    How did it taaaste? Just right!

  • Syairah syassakii

    Malaysian have both ^^ I used to use both when I was a kid, especially while we are playing. The usage is more or less the same. Our version of eeny meeny miny moe is more of rhyming words in chain. There’s no meaning to it. The other one is to choose team mates: lat talilat laili tamplum. See, it’s just rhyming words xD (Ok, maybe not so much of rhymes)

    p/s: we have stone, paper, scissors too =)

  • هاجر

    Here in Egypt we say “hady bady kronb zabady
    shalo wi hato kol alady
    ya katkot roh elsook
    hat elbeda men el sandok
    ewaa takolha tetaa tmoot ” when we want to choose between things … it differs also from area to another … and when choosing someone for a game we play a game called “kilo pamyeos” ^________^

  • Where I’m from in America, kids pick items similar to Eeny, meeny, but we also have another rhyme.

    My mo-ther said to pick the best one
    and you are not it.

    As the phrase goes, you don’t pick the one you are pointing to. Instead you keep using the phrase till only one thing is left.

    Sometimes this method is used to help the team captains decide when choosing team members. But usually when they’ve picked everyone they already wanted to pick.

  • Isa

    In Spain it goes like this =)

    Pito pito gorgorito,
    donde vas tu tan bonito,
    a la era verdadera,
    pin pon fuera,
    tu te vas y tu te quedas.

    Differences between countries are quite funny!

  • Axel Lönnblad

    Here in sweden when i was a kid we used a method for picking teams by having the captains stand with their back towards the other kids who stood in a line. The captains would then shout numbers and whoever was in that position would be on that captains team.

    We also have eeny, meeny which goes like:

    Ole dole doff kinke lane koff koffe lane binke bane ole dole doff

    They do not mean anything in swedish, just random made up words.

    Love your site, also fun video!
    Thanks alot!

    • Leilani

      I learned that from pewdiepie. lol

  • AA

    In Philippines, we have this:
    “Maiba, taya! Hindi Magbago~~~~ taya!”
    It’s the same with flipping hands to choose your partners and to choose the “IT”

  • Collin

    For your next episode, could you tell us, how do you say “I’m crossing my fingers” [for good luck], in Korean?

  • april

    Teacher Hyojin, I want to ask something.
    Which one is more often used by Korean: “uri appa” or “nae appa” or “jeo eui appa” when they want to say “my father”?
    Please tell me when I should use phrase “uri appa” or “nae appa” or “jeo eui appa” too.
    Thank you very much.

  • Puchi

    In France we say :

    Am, stram, gram,
    Pic et pic et colégram,
    Bour et bour et ratatam.

    (and it doesn’t mean anything)

  • In Indonesia:

    “Cap cip cup, belalang kuncup” and then you continue with your wish: (Baju yang mana yang aku pakai?, – which shirt that I should wear?)

    Or when you want to make a group for a game, you can say “Hom pim pa alaium gambreng.”

  • Chloe

    I went to school in England and if you were picking who was ‘it’ in tag, then we had a rhyme which was
    ‘Ip dip sky blue, who’s it? Not you’

    and then repeat until one person is left! I don’t know what ‘ip dip’ was about…

  • Sarah

    When I was a kid (in America) we would choose teams by putting our feet in a circle and the captain would sing

    bubble gum bubble gum in a dish,
    how many pieces do you wish?

    and if your feet were pointed at you would pick a number and you would count feet around until you hit the number. then that person would be on that captain’s team. 🙂

    but by junior high it is exactly like keith said.

  • Jae

    In my elementary days in America besides the eeny-meeny-miny-moe game and the bubble-gum-in-a-dish game (I think someone said that) there was another one:

    “Tic-tac-toe,
    give me an X give me an O,
    give me a three in a row”

    And then at this point you play rock paper scissors saying, “Rock paper scissors shoot!”

  • Kayleigh

    The Dutch version of eeny meeny miny moe is:
    iene miene mutte (don’t know what this means..)
    Tien pond grutten (10 pounds groats/grains)
    Tien pond kaas (10 pounds cheese)
    Iene miene mutte
    is de baas (is the boss)

    and that could be elongated to make it less predictable to see who will be chosen with:
    maar jij mag de baas niet zijn (but you can’t be the boss)
    want jij bent nog veel te klein (because you are too young/short)

  • Marcus Low

    In Singapore the choosing teams thing is sung as “ohya pehya SOM!” … nobody knows what it is, but sometime in the 1990s a longer version came out, “ohya pehya sombalehya, roti-prata char-kway-teow!”, where roti-prata is an indian food and charkwayteow is stir-fried flat ddeok noodles. Until today, nobody knows what the front part means, but everyone including adults use it.

    There’s also another way to choose teams, especially if there are more than two teams because there are only two sides of your hand. Someone calls out “open Numbers”, and everyone gives a number from 0-5 using their hand, and beginning from the caller, they count off the sum of all the numbers put out, and the last person is eliminated, or chosen, depending on the game.

  • Janine K

    We used a little longer version of :

    Eeny meeny, miny, moe
    Catch a tiger by it’s toe
    If he hollers make him pay
    Fifty dollars every day
    My mom told me to pick the very best one
    And you are not it
    For this game!

    ^^

  • Mmm … banyak sgt bahan dalam net sekarang… banyak yg merapu dari fakta… terus terang saya kata… tulisan awak memang best… sesuatu yg dari hati akan sampai gak ke hati..

  • Nazanin

    Well in Persian , when you want to choose a team member you can say: Har-ki-tak-biare-un-barande-mishe-
    & While one person is singing this , others put their hands behind their head & when The song is finished everyone Bring forth their hands & some people show their Palms & some show the other side!the person who shows the different side of his hand among other is choosen!
    we also have many other but this one is some how, the most popular one!

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