"A palabras necias, oídos sordos" en inglés

Nov 24, 2022

I’m sure most of us have encountered bullies at some point in our lives — be it in the school yard, at the supermarket, or even in a work environment. If you haven’t, lucky you!

Bullying can take many forms with verbal abuse being one of them. The psychological and emotional hurt caused by words can sometimes hurt worse than physical harm. This is especially so when they are counterproductive and are armed with an intent to hurt.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation like this, you may have received the advice: a palabras necias, oídos sordos.

In English, we say: sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Some variations swap ‘words’ for ‘names’ and ‘hurt’ for ‘harm’, but the underlying message is the same: not letting insults hurt and affect you.

There are ear-related expressions in English but they do not quite mean the same thing as a palabras necias, oídos sordos.

👂 To turn a deaf ear: no hacer caso

Eg. You can try and talk to him again, but he’s pretty much made up his mind and has turned a deaf ear to everyone.

👂 To fall on deaf ears: cuando nadie hace caso a tus consejos o sugerencias

Eg. Since all of my requests to take on more projects have fallen on deaf ears, I will be handing in my notice.

I hope that helps!

​Daniel

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