"Fee-fi-fo-fum" is the first line of a historical quatrain (or sometimes couplet) famous for its use in the classic English fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. The poem, as given in Joseph Jacobs's rendition, is as follows:
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he live, or be he dead
I'll grind his bones to make my bread.
Though the rhyme is tetrametric, it follows no consistent metrical foot; however, the respective verses correspond roughly to monosyllabic tetrameter, dactylic tetrameter, trochaic tetrameter, and iambic tetrameter. The poem has historically made use of assonant half rhyme.
Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.
The verse in King Lear makes use of the archaic word "fie", used to express disapproval. This word is used repeatedly in Shakespeare's works, King Lear himself shouting, "Fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!" and the character of Mark Antony (in Antony and Cleopatra) simply exclaiming "O fie, fie, fie!" The word "fum" has sometimes been interpreted as "fume". Formations such as "fo" and "foh" are perhaps related to the expression "pooh!", which is used by one of the giants in Jack the Giant-Killer; such conjectures largely indicate that the phrase is of imitative origin, rooted in the sounds of flustering and anger.
In the Laurel and Hardy film A Chump at Oxford, the Oxford students walk in a procession, chanting "Fee-fi-fo-fum, we want the blood of an American".
In the song "Powaful Impak!", rapper Buckshot rhymes "Fee, to the Fi, to the Fo, to the Funk".
In the song 'Soul Wars' by Awolnation
In a TV commercial for a bank, while writing out checks, the giant says, "Fi fo fum," since the bank supposedly has no fees.
In the 1961 Popeye the Sailor short "Hamburgers Aweigh", When the Sea Hag to hijacked Popeye's ship, Wimpy uses the Whiffle Bird to put a magic spell on him and the canned hamburgers. As a result, he goes berserk to the cabin to eat all the hamburgers while saying "Fee, fi, fo, fum! I smell hamburgers, yum, yum!"
- Tatar, Maria (2002). "Jack and the Beanstalk". The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. pp. pp. 131 – 144. ISBN 0-393-05163-3.
- History of Jack the Giant Killer. Glasgow: Printed for the booksellers.
- "fie". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. The Houghton Mifflin Co. 2000. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
- Gaiman, Neil. "The Day the Saucers Came". Poster of the poem at Neil Gaiman's Neverwear store. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- "Black moon lyrics".
- "Nail lyrics".