Full version of the rhyme “First the worst second the best …?

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We’ve all heard the popular childhood rhyme that starts with “First the worst, second the best…” This whimsical saying is often chanted during playful competitions or games, but many people are left wondering if there’s more to it than the familiar beginning. In this article, we will delve into the full version of the rhyme, its origins, and the various interpretations and variations that have emerged over time.

The Familiar Start

The rhyme “First the worst, second the best…” is a well-known phrase, especially among children, and it is commonly used to tease someone who comes in second place. The basic idea behind it is to playfully suggest that the first person is the “worst,” and the second person is the “best” among the competitors. This lighthearted taunt is often used in a friendly and humorous context.

The Full Version

While the beginning of the rhyme is widely recognized, the full version of the rhyme is less well-known but equally charming. Here is the complete rhyme:

1st worst,

2nd the best,

3rd is the one with the hairy chest,

4th the King,

5th the Queen,

6th the one in the washing machine,

7th the angel,

8th the ghost,

9th the one who thinks they re the worst,

10th is ace,

11th wins the race,

and 12th is the one with the frilly lace!

Origins and Variations

The origins of this rhyme are somewhat murky, and it’s challenging to pinpoint its exact source. Like many nursery rhymes and playground chants, it has likely been passed down through generations by word of mouth.

Variations of this rhyme exist in different forms and languages. For instance, in some versions, the third and fourth lines may change to reference other traits or attributes, and different cultures may have their own adaptations of the rhyme. These variations highlight the fluid and creative nature of folklore and oral traditions.

Interpretation and Fun

The charm of this rhyme lies in its simplicity and the playful spirit it invokes. While it may be used to tease someone in a good-natured way, it’s important to remember that it’s all in jest, and the “worst” and “best” labels are not meant to be taken seriously.

In fact, the rhyme can be a source of amusement and bonding among friends, family members, and children. It’s often recited with a smile and a sense of camaraderie, adding a touch of light-heartedness to various situations.


The rhyme “First the worst, second the best…” is a delightful piece of folklore that has found a place in the hearts and memories of many. While its origins remain somewhat mysterious, its enduring appeal lies in its playful and good-natured teasing. So, the next time you find yourself in a friendly competition or simply looking for a cheerful rhyme to share, remember the full version and enjoy the playful spirit it embodies.

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