I am wondering If I tell people that I was born in Melbourne but bred in Sydney, will the people think that I am married and have many children in Sydney?
Because when someone "breeds" then it implies that "they have babies", and then people mistakenly think that I have many babies. (But I am a student. I have no sex experience, I am not married either)

My original idea is to tell them that I grew up and received my education in Sydney since after I had moved from Melbourne to Sydney. But, because I think it is cumbersome to say "I grew up and received my education in Sydney since after I had moved from Melbourne to Sydney", I want to use a few words which will help me express the same idea, but my English is not good enough, so I could only come up with this sentence:
"I was born in Melbourne but bred in Sydney"

  • 14
    When I first read your question (as an native english speaker) I thought you were telling me about where you were conceived, which is TMI in most circumstances.
    – boatcoder
    Jan 28, 2015 at 16:58
  • 7
    Use born in Melbourne, but raised in Sydney.
    – user6951
    Jan 28, 2015 at 18:23
  • 4
    In this context "bred in Sydney" seems to mean that either you were conceived in Sydney, or you yourself conceived a child in Sydney. I'd go with "Born in Melbourne, raised in Sydney". :-) Jan 28, 2015 at 20:11
  • 2
    the phrase used in the generic from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is Born and raised, so you can probably split this one instead.
    – njzk2
    Jan 28, 2015 at 20:43
  • 1
    I think that many people here do not understand that "bred" in the context of this phrase means "upbringing" and doesn't have anything to do with conception.
    – dev_willis
    Apr 29, 2015 at 21:00

5 Answers 5


I was born in Melbourne but bred in Sydney

No. "Born and bred" is a set phrase, and when used separately its meaning changes. As a standalone word, "bred" is more suitable for use in regards to cattle or other animals. "Born and bred" is tied together so tightly that you can use it as an attributive adjective:

She was a born and bred Melbourner.

What to pick instead?

If by "education" you mean your basic education, including that given by your mother, father or other caregiver, you might say

I was born in Melbourne but brought up in Sydney.
I was born in Melbourne but raised in Sydney.

You can also try

I was born in Melbourne but grew up in Sydney. (Thank you, Kevin, for your comment!)

Instead of "received my education", you can pick shorter versions, such as "(was) educated, tutored" or "graduated", or "went to school/college/university":

I was born in Melbourne but educated in Sydney.
I was born in Melbourne but went to school in Sydney.

P.S. "Born and bred" does remind me of the so-called "legal doublets", but in such combinations the meanings of the words are synonymous, and one of the words usually derives from Latin. I'm not sure that that is the case with "born and bred".

According to Wiktionary, one of the meanigns of breed, most likely an archaic one, is "to take care of in infancy and through childhood; to bring up". Judging by the quotations used for this sense, it must be archaic:

"Ah, wretched me! by fates averse decreed
To bring thee forth with pain, with care to breed"
(by Dryden, a poet who lived in the 17 century)

It's probably due to this "human-related" sense fading away and only the "animal-related" sense retained that we cannot separate born from bred.

  • 2
    Or "grew up in"
    – Kevin
    Jan 28, 2015 at 16:21
  • 1
    @Kevin - thanks for the comment! Option added. (0: Jan 28, 2015 at 16:22
  • 3
    Unless you're made of grain, then you're born and raised in one city and bread in another. <_< ... >_>
    – corsiKa
    Jan 28, 2015 at 23:36
  • @corsiKa: THWACK!
    – Martha
    Jan 29, 2015 at 7:47
  • @CopperKettle I don't agree at all. The animal husbandry context of the word "breed" is not the only context the word has. In this phrase it clearly means upbringing and it would be perfectly valid to say "I was born here but bred there" the way OP suggested. See my answer.
    – dev_willis
    Apr 29, 2015 at 21:06

"Born and bred" is one of the many English phrases formed from pairs of words that are almost complete synonyms:

safe and sound
aid and abet
meek and mild
far and wide
null and void
flotsam and jetsam

These are set phrases or even idioms - "aid and abet" doesn't mean you helped someone twice, but that you assisted someone in a probably-criminal enterprise. In many cases, they also use words that are otherwise obsolete (does anyone ever use "jetsam" on its own?), or use meanings of words that are obsolete/rarely used (e.g. the "sound" in "safe and sound" or the "mild" in "meek and mild"). What all this boils down to is that in most cases, you can't really separate the pairs of words.

In the specific case of "born and bred", "bred" on its own sounds like something you do with dogs or horses, so "...but bred in Sydney" just sounds... wrong. I would use a different word there, perhaps "raised" or "grew up":

I was born in Melbourne, but raised in Sydney.
I was born in Melbourne, but [my family moved when I was very young, so] I grew up in Sydney.

  • 3
    I use jetsam at work (and see it in use by others) - Engineering related to lakes and rivers.
    – Adam
    Jan 28, 2015 at 17:08
  • Flotsam and jetsam are not synomyms at all - there is an imporrtant legal distinction between them.
    – psmears
    Jan 30, 2015 at 16:25

I agree with the other commenters that it's a set expression. The point of the phrase is that you are completely and thoroughly of a certain place. If you split it up, people will recognize what you mean, but it's not normally done. They may think you're trying to be funny.

Also, bred in this sense is being used as the past participle; you're saying you were bred (by your parents), not that you bred children of your own, so no one is likely to think you are saying you have kids.


If the original poster wants to say that her ancestors lived in Sydney, or that she was conceived in Sydney, she should not say she was "bred in Sydney".

Unless you are using the phrase "born and bred" as a stock phrase,
saying that she was "bred in Sydney" is a very coarse way of saying that she had sex in Sydney, and someone hoped that sex would result in her giving birth about nine months later.


Yes. Birth is an event but breeding is a process. They do not have to be conjoined. The phrase "born and bred" implies a history and a connection to an area but to say one was born here and bred there would be more along the lines of conveying factual information. The two would be said with different intentions, in different circumstances and would convey different meanings.

  • I think that many people here do not understand that "bred" in the context of this phrase means "upbringing" and doesn't have anything to do with conception.
    – dev_willis
    Apr 29, 2015 at 20:24

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