I don't really understand the rubber and glue reference in the idiom:

I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

since as we all know glue does stick on rubber.

  • 2
    Don't overthink this one - it's just a childish "riposte" (dating back to at least 1948). Children (and indeed adults) don't always think things through completely. But being charitable, one could argue that it doesn't refer to "you" (the glue) bouncing off "me" (rubber) - it's whatever you say that interacts differently with the different materials. Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


This made me smile.

Okay, I'm rubber, therefore I am bouncy.

The insults you throw at me do not stick to me. I do not let them hurt me. In fact, the insults you have thrown at me will bounce off of me, because I am rubber and I am bouncy. I am resilient! I will "bounce back", so to speak.

However, you are glue. What you have said to me will bounce off me and stick to you. Furthermore, what you say about me really says more about you. The rude things you choose to say about me are often really a reflection of who you are as a person.

I'm rubber. You're glue.

We teach it to kids so that they're not too sensitive.

Thank you for giving me this laugh today. It really made me smile.

Another good one is "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words may never hurt me.". You can argue about the truthfulness of this statement lol, but again, it's something we teach to the kids.

  • I know it's perfectly valid, and means the same, but I don't recall seeing words may never hurt me. Google NGrams agrees with me that it's always ...can never hurt me. Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 17:37

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