[mass noun] A singing game played by children, in which the players hold hands and dance in a circle, falling down at the end of the song.
- ‘Kindergarten kids form a circle and sing "Ring a Ring O' Roses".’
- ‘"Lets play ring-around-a-rosy!" she declared.’
- ‘Come on, we're all going to play ring a ring o' roses now.’
Said to refer to the inflamed (‘rose-coloured’) ring of buboes, symptomatic of the plague; the final part of the game is symbolic of death.