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Why do we say "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Well-Known Expressions

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me

Meaning:

A physical attack may hurt me but I'll not be hurt by cruel words or name-calling

Background:

This expression is first attested in Folk-phrases of Four Counties by GF Northall, published in 1894 for the English dialect society. This appears to have been a collection of sayings from the English counties of Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Alphabetical list of expressions

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