Betty Botter bought some butter;
“But,” said she, “this butter's bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o' better butter
Will but make my batter better.”
Then she bought a bit o’ butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So 'twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit o’ better butter.
Although we will never know the identity of Betty Botter, we can say with certainty that the poem itself belongs to the author and poet Carolyn Wells. A prolific American writer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Wells had written 100 books in her lifetime. She is best known for her humorous verses, children’s books, and popular mysteries.
How come it was the silly Betty Botter rhyme that gained mass popularity? The tongue twister was added to Mother Goose’s collection of nursery rhymes in the mid-20th century, and it had appeared in several editions since.
While it’s likely that similar puns were made prior to this quirky freezer ad, it wasn’t actually the advertisement that brought the rhyme to the wider audience. That credit goes to the 1927 song I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream by the musicians Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King. In the 1940s, the song became a jazz standard, further cementing the phrase in the public consciousness.
Related Article: 10 Tough Tongue Twisters
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Certainly one of the most famous tongue-twisters out there, the Peter Piper rhyme is also among the oldest on this list. Historians trace the phrase back to the 1813 book aptly titled John Harris's Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation.
A popular legend ties the poem to an 18th-century botanist and horticulturalist named Pierre Poivre. The Frenchman’s last name - Poivre - is literally French for “pepper,” whereas the Latin word for pepper is piper. Moreover, Poivre is remembered in history for obtaining and smuggling spices from the Dutch Spice Islands and introducing spice plants to various places around the world. So the connection between the rhyme and the famous gardener is certainly strong. Still, it’s difficult to say if the rhyme was indeed dedicated to Poivre since we have no written record to confirm it.
Not familiar with this one? Many people aren’t as it’s a fairly recent tongue-twister developed by MIT scientists in 2013. Why would researchers from MIT bother inventing rhymes? Well, they claim that it’s the world’s toughest rhyme to pronounce, especially several times in a row.
According to the researchers, the rhyme is notoriously difficult to pronounce because it combines both alliteration (the same letter at the beginning of adjacent words) and words that contain similar sounds - so it’s not only difficult to pronounce but also tricky for the brain to process.
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