Sing neigh down derry

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Senior Member

Please what does " Sing neigh down derry" mean?
From WR I know this: (in phr. have a derry on) Austral./NZ informal be prejudiced against. This is the context:

’No care and no sorrow,
A fig for the morrow!
We’ll laugh and be merry,
Sing neigh down derry!

Source: Hans in Luck by the Grimm Brothers.
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It doesn't mean anything, Sami; it's just a phrase used as a line in the chorus of a song, similar to "tra la la", which you may have encountered.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    They mean nothing. They are nonsense syllables written to fill out the song with the correct meter and rhyme, much like "tra la la," but that doesn't rhyme with "merry."

    (If this is a Grimm Brothers story, it was originally in German. You might try to find out what the original song was and what it means. Perhaps it makes more sense.)

    Added in edit: Here Parla and I go again ...


    American English
    This is a bit of shocker (well, it was for me). I just read the original story in German, and Hans does not sing in the German version at that point in the story. Talk about "translation license". ;-)

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's taken from the chorus of a traditional English or British folk song called "The Keeper did a-hunting go", and note that it's 'Hey down' pronounced like hay. Google it and you can hear it sung. I don't know what derry down means, if it ever had any meaning.


    Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
    To my hey down down (To my ho down down )
    Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
    Among the leaves so green-o

    Last edited:
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