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Sayings

20 Sayings about Talking

These are English sayings and proverbs about talking and conversation (and sometimes about the lack thereof!).

Click on any saying for more information and notes.

Sayings

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse

A very small hint is enough to convey our meaning. It is not always necessary to say what we want explicitly.

A still tongue makes a wise head

Someone who does not talk much, but listens to other people, probably has experience, knowledge and good judgement.

A word to the wise is enough

A very brief warning or explanation is enough for an intelligent person.

Barking dogs seldom bite

Don't be afraid of dogs that bark or people that threaten you (say they will do something bad to you) - in both cases they rarely take action.

Better the foot slip than the tongue

It is better to take a bad step in walking than to say the wrong thing in talking. We can do a lot of damage when we say something by mistake. The elliptical nature of this saying may make it difficult to understand. The full version might be something like: "It is better that your foot should slip than that your tongue should slip."

Beware of a silent man and still water

A large expanse of water that is still and does not move is often deep and dangerous. We should be careful of it. In the same way, we should be careful with a person who does not talk much.

Brevity is the soul of wit

The real art of speaking (especially when speaking humorously) is to use as few words as possible.

Dumb dogs are dangerous

People who say little or nothing are more dangerous than people who speak a lot.

Empty vessels make the most noise

Stupid people speak loudest.

Least said soonest mended

When we do or say something bad to someone, a long apology and discussion does not help. In such a case, the less we say the better.

Never speak ill of the dead

Show respect to people who have died by not saying anything bad about them. Since dead people can no longer hurt us, or defend themselves, it is better to forget their bad actions and remember only their good ones.

No reply is best

It is often advisable not to give any answer. Don't say no. Don't say yes. Say nothing.

Say well or be still

If you cannot speak good of someone or something, then it is better not to speak.

Silence is golden

This saying emphasizes the value of saying nothing.

Silence means consent

The idea here is that if you don't disagree, you automatically agree. Keeping quiet is the same as giving permission.

Speech is silver, silence is golden

Speaking is good but saying nothing is better. Discretion can be worth more than even eloquent words.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me

A physical attack may injure me but a verbal attack cannot injure me.

Talk of the Devil, and he is bound to appear

1. Speaking about the Devil may invite him to come. 2. We often say "Talk of the devil!" (or "Speak of the devil!") when somebody that we have just been speaking about suddenly appears.

The squeaking wheel gets the grease

The person who makes the most fuss gets all the attention.

There is a time to speak and a time to be silent

We should know when to say something and when to say nothing.

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