Where the Phrase “Polly Wants a Cracker” Came From

##EMBED##

Click Here for Sources and to Learn Why Crackers Have Holes

Text Version

Nabisco originally released the saltine cracker in 1876.  Their slogan for this new type of cracker was “Polly wants a cracker?”, which is where that saying came from. Saltine crackers were mildly successful after being released, but received a huge boost in popularity thanks to the Great Depression.  Saltines were a nice cheap, tasty filler to add to other foods such as watery soup, to make the meal more filling.

Share the Knowledge! Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Enjoy this article? Join over 50,000 Subscribers getting our FREE Daily Knowledge and Weekly Wrap newsletters:

Subscribe Me To:  | 

10 comments

  • Hello… Who was Polly? You explained the cracker part, but what about Polly???

  • I wondered about this phrase a while back and tracked down the word “Polly” to the OED…. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Polly is a diminutive of Poll “as a female name, and name for a parrot,” and Poll, altered from Moll, familiar form of Mary, is the traditional name for any parrot.

    Probably the phrase came from people asking their parrot if it wanted a cracker, and then the parrot mimicking the words back in ‘parrot speak’.

    sounds plausible…?

  • except that this image dates from 1838, which may debunk that myth somewhat…

    http://i.stack.imgur.com/A72IY.gif

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Martin: Interesting. What is the source of that image specifically? If it truly predates it then Nabisco perhaps simply borrowed it for their ad campaigns, whether knowingly or not.

  • Polly Jackson was the name of a escaped slave who helped others escape through the Underground Railroad. She later settled in Ohio. She fought off and would kill slave catchers with a knife. The slur for slave catcher was used and the phrase was born.

  • Polly wants a cracker
    I think I should get off her first
    I think she wants some water
    To put out the blow torch

    It isn’t me
    We have some seed
    Let me clip
    Your dirty wings
    Let me take a ride
    Don’t cut yourself
    I want some help
    To please myself
    I’ve got some rope
    You have been told
    I promise you
    I have been true
    Let me take a ride
    Don’t cut yourself
    I want some help
    To please myself
    Polly wants a cracker
    Maybe she would like some food
    She asks me to untie her
    A chase would be nice for a few
    It isn’t me
    We have some seed
    Let me clip
    Your dirty wings
    Let me take a ride
    Don’t cut yourself
    I want some help
    To please myself
    I’ve got some rope
    You have been told
    I promise you
    I have been true
    Let me take a ride
    Don’t cut yourself
    I want some help
    To please myself

    Polly said
    Polly says…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *