Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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Meaning of Idiom 'Actions Speak Louder Than Words'

Actions speak louder than words means that a persons intention or character can be better judged by what they do than what they say; what one does is more important than what they say; it is better to do things than talk about doing things. 1, 3

Usage

"The mayor made a lot of promises today but actions speak louder than words."

"I'm sorry," said Julia, "I will never lie to you again." "Actions speak louder than words," answered Christine.

Origin

This idiom, which often considered a cliché, is an ancient proverb in many languages, including ancient Greek 1

The word speak in this idiom does not actually refer to the spoken word, but to demonstrating or showing.

In English, it was found as early as 1692 in various forms such as "actions are more sufficient than words" and in 1736 in A.M. Davis' Colonial Currency (Meloncholy State of This Province): "Actions speak louder than words, and are more to be regarded." 2, 4

Sources
1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Speake, Jennifer. The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. Oxford University Press, 2015.
3. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
4. Whiting, Bartlett Jere. Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. The Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 1977.

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