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Meaning Of “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” 

“Actions speak louder than words” is a common turn of phrase that explains how an individual’s actions are more important/impactful than what they say. It is more powerful to do something than to just talk about doing it. 

Examples Of “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

  • When interviewing all of the potential new hires, they all spoke about how much work they get done and how much dedication they have to the job. The choice, however, became clear after one of the interviewees came to volunteer at the company before being hired. Actions speak louder than words.
  • My friend Jack is always busy. No matter when I asked him to spend time with me, he always had some excuse for why he could not hang out with me. When I brought it up to him, he told me how he would start spending more time with me in the future. The only response I had was, “actions speak louder than words.” 

Origin Of The Common Phrase

In our lives, we often find people who talk a lot about what they will do. However, they usually do not end up doing it. For example, a child might tell their parent they will do the chores, only for the parent to find nothing done at the end of the day. 

Usually, the phrase “actions speak louder than words” is used in response to people not following through with their words. It originated to tell people that it would be more meaningful if they took action rather than just speaking. 

Most sources pinpoint this phrase to around 1736, more specifically in a work called the Melancholy State of Province. This was the first recorded account where the historical wording was the same as the modern-day wording, although it is thought that earlier modifications of the phrase also existed. These manifestations were written with different wording. However, they all explained that actions truly speak louder than words. 

In addition to this phrase’s specific origin, there are also a lot of related phrases that are interesting to know. For example, other common phrases such as “all bark no bite” mean a very similar thing and are thought to have split off from the original phrase “actions speak louder than words.” 

Related: Check out our “common expressions” section for more articles like this!


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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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