Humpty Dumpty  

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"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
"The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things."
"The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master."
[...] --Through the Looking-Glass

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Humpty Dumpty is a character in a Nursery rhyme portrayed as an egg (food). Most English-speaking children are familiar with the rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

The fact that Humpty Dumpty is an egg is not actually stated in the rhyme. In its first printed form, in 1810, it is a riddle, and exploits for misdirection the fact that "humpty dumpty" was 18th-Century reduplicative slang for a short, clumsy person. Whereas a clumsy person falling off a wall would not be irreparably damaged, an egg would be. The rhyme is no longer posed as a riddle, since the answer is now so well known. Similar riddles have been recorded by folklorists in other languages, such as Boule Boule in French, or Lille Trille in Swedish & Norwegian; though none is as widely known as Humpty Dumpty is in English or native Australian.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Humpty Dumpty" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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