Sticks and Stones

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"Sticks and Stones" is an English language children's rhyme. The rhyme persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.

First appearance[edit]

Alexander William Kinglake in his EOTHEN (written 1830, published in London, J. Ollivier, 1844) used "golden sticks and stones".

It is reported[1] to have appeared in The Christian Recorder of March 1862, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where it is presented as an "old adage" in this form:

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

The phrase also appeared in 1872, where it is presented as advice in Tappy's Chicks: and Other Links Between Nature and Human Nature, by Mrs. George Cupples.[2] The version used in that work runs:

Sticks and stones may break my bones
But names will never harm me.

Also throughout the web there are different essays about why each statement is true or false.

Sticks and stones may break my bones
But names will never down you

This version was featured in The Who's 1981 song, "The Quiet One", in which the vocals were performed by bassist John Entwistle, where he mentioned this term from another source he picked up and sang this term twice where he changed "your" from the first set to "my" in the second set.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Gary Martin. "The Phrase Finder". Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Cupples, Mrs. George [Ann Jane Dunn Douglas] (1872). Tappy's Chicks: And Other Links Between Nature and Human Nature (1872). London: Strahan & Co. p. 78.