Merry, Merrythought!

If I had said to you at Christmas dinner, “I just had a merry thought … why don’t we have a go at the merrythought,” you’d probably think I was losing my grip.

But actually, my grip would have been gearing up to grasp at something …

on the holiday turkey.

And challenging you to a little contest with a lucky outcome …


noun, Chiefly British.

1. the wishbone or furcula of a fowl.
1600-10; so called from the custom of pulling the bone apart until it breaks, the person holding the longer piece supposedly being granted a wish … or marrying first!
Or would that be marrythought?


  1. Nielsen,Winifred T. says:

    I remember doing this every Thanksgiving and Christmas when we would have turkey on the menu. Seems like I never remembered whether my wish came true or not.

  2. Marilyn Berger says:

    What a Merry Thought! Alas, I made Tur-duck-en for the first time, so no merrythought due to the breasts of the turkey, duck and hen being de-boned prior to baking. The flavor, however, was well worth it and a unanimous vote by family for Tur-duck-en being a Christmas tradition! And we have now improved our Christmas vocabulary thanks to you!

  3. Penny says:

    The expression “I have a bone to pick with you” comes to mind.

  4. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    I save all my wishbones from all fowl for making wishes. The local Amish here use wishbones in their crafts when they crochet a little present , usually as a birthday gift or sometimes for weddings. It is considered good luck.
    But I never heard of a ” merrythought” although it is the name of a British toy company from the turn of the century( I think they are still in business now.)

  5. Jane Ryan says:

    This brings back fond memories of my childhood! Any time we had fried chicken (and my mom’s was the best!), my mom kept the wishbone intact to cook and we took turns getting the “wishbone” to eat. Then we would pull the wishbone. However, so that noone was disappointed at not getting a wish – the child with the long end got a “big” wish and the child with the short end got a “little” wish! Good memories!

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