What does the idiom "Actions speak louder than words" mean?

The phrase Actions speak louder than words is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of Actions speak louder than words.

Meaning of "Actions speak louder than words"


The proverb “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” often referred to as “Actions Speak Louder,” suggests that what people do is more important or has more significance than the words they use when expressing themselves or interacting with others. Essentially, the proverb is suggesting that it is easier to understand what one means or how they feel through their actions than their words.


The phrase “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” is believed to have originated in the 16th century and has been traced back to a passage written by Sir Thomas More in 1528. The phrase appeared in More’s “A Dialogue Concerning Heresies” where he wrote that “The example of good life and action is more powerful than any number of words.” However, the phrase had been in use prior to More writing about it. As early as the 13th century, works have been found that contain variations of the phrase.


The phrase “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” is used to warn people about being too trusting of other people’s words and to instead look to their actions for understanding. It is often used as a reminder to think before judging someone from their words alone and to pay more attention to the behavior they demonstrate. Likewise, the phrase is also used to remind people to be mindful of their own actions, as they often speak louder than even the most pure of intentions.

Example Sentences

  • "Remember, when it comes to evaluating someone's character, actions speak louder than words."
  • "She said she was sorry, but her actions said otherwise."
  • "Let your actions speak for themselves, and don't worry too much about what others think."

The meanings of the words in the "Actions speak louder than words" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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