Glossary Home Definition

Tuffet

A tuffet is “a tuft or clump of something” or “a footstool or low seat”.

The word comes from the Anglo-French “tuffete” and was first used around 1550. Contextually, the word is most commonly used in the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet”. But, as is common in nursery rhymes, the setting and meaning of the word is obscured by imagery and nonsense, or nonce, verse.

Take a look at these lines from ‘Little Miss Muffet’ to see how the word “tuffet” appears in the text:

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey;

There came a big spider,

Who sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

It’s clear from these lines, once you’re aware of the definitions, that the speaker is describing “Little Miss Muffet” as sitting on something, either a low seat or a grassy hill. More likely than not it was the latter. Scholars have suggested that the secondary definition, in reference to a footstool, might come from a misunderstanding of this rhyme.

Discover the Essential Secrets

of Poetry

Sign up to unveil the best kept secrets in poetry, brought to you by the experts

>

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox

Ad blocker detected

To create the home of poetry, we fund this through advertising

Please help us help you by disabling your ad blocker

 

We appreciate your support

Send this to a friend