"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."
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Appeared in The Christian Recorder of March 1862, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where it is presented as an "old adage."
Reflects the common law of civil assault, which holds that mere name-calling does not give rise to a cause of action, while putting someone in fear of physical violence does.
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I would but repeat the editor's source comment. Reflects the common law of civil assault, which holds that mere name-calling does not give rise to a cause of action, while putting someone in fear of physical violence does.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    This may have been a factual truth for a physical civil assault case in court in 1862, and it stands as a basic guideline on self-control. However, in this world today it is a gross oversimplification that is completely untrue, as even children playing in the schoolyard know full well by about the age of 6. Slander, hate speech, and rampant bullying on social media destroys lives, certainly psychologically, sometimes financially, but also in tragic cases causing our children to be literally bullied to death. I guess it all depends on your definition of the word "hurt."
     -- Robin, Spokane     
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    Robin, the civil assault addresses individuals of majority age and an accepted norm. When the assault is directed at an individual(s) that is psychologically wanting or disadvantaged, that scope of action moves from civil to criminal. Seldom is violent behavior (bullying) limited only to name-calling.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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