hard words break no bones

A terser statement of the sentiment in sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Cf. c 1450 Towneley Play of Noah (EETS) 1. 380 Thise grete wordis shall not flay me.

1697 G. MERITON Yorkshire Ale (ed. 3) 84 Foul words break neay Banes.

1806 H. H. BRACKENRIDGE Gazette Publications 250 Hard words, and language break nae bane.

1814 G. MORRIS Letter 18 Oct. (1889) II. xlix. These..are mere words—hard words, if you please, but they break no bones.

1882 BLACKMORE Christowell III. xvi. ‘Scoundrel, after all that I have done—.’ ‘Hard words break no bones, my friend.’

1980 G. NELSON Charity’s Child i. Soft words! They butter no parsnips... Would you prefer hard ones?.. Hard words break no bones.


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  • sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me — Similar to hard words break no bones. 1894 G. F. NORTHALL Folk Phrases 23 Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me! Said by one youngster to another calling names. 1980 Cosmopolitan Dec. 137 ‘Sticks and stones may break …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • break — noun see never give a sucker an even break verb see hard words break no bones if it were not for hope, the heart would break it is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back obey orders, if you break owners …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • hard — see hard cases make bad law hard words break no bones old habits die hard the bigger they are, the harder they fall …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • break — break1 W1S1 [breık] v past tense broke [brəuk US brouk] past participle broken [ˈbrəukən US ˈbrou ] ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(separate into pieces)¦ 2¦(bones)¦ 3¦(machines)¦ 4¦(rules/laws)¦ 5¦(promise/agreement)¦ 6¦(stop/rest)¦ 7¦(end something)¦ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • break — break1 [ breık ] (past tense broke [ brouk ] ; past participle broken [ broukən ] ) verb *** ▸ 1 separate into pieces ▸ 2 fail to obey rules ▸ 3 make a hole/cut ▸ 4 destroy someone s confidence ▸ 5 when people learn news ▸ 6 stop for a short time …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • List of words having different meanings in British and American English: A–L — Differences between American and British English American English …   Wikipedia

  • List of Bones characters — This is a list of fictional characters in the television series Bones. The article deals with the series main, recurring, and minor characters. Contents 1 Main characters 1.1 Temperance Bones Brennan …   Wikipedia

  • List of self-contradicting words in English — This is a list of self contradicting English words that is, words which in and of themselves have two or more generally accepted meanings in the English language that directly or generally contradict each other. Such words are also known as auto… …   Wikipedia

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • word — see a word to the wise is enough actions speak louder than words an Englishman’s word is his bond fine words butter no parsnips hard words break no bones one picture is worth ten thousand words …   Proverbs new dictionary

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