A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 13, 2012
“Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often”

"Actions speak louder than words” is a proverb that has been cited in print since about the 1600s. “Actions speak louder than words, but they do not speak as often” was cited in print in the Washington (DC) Post on October 22, 1904, and is of unknown authorship. “Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often” is another form of the saying.

The American author Mark Twain (1835-1910) has been credited for the saying in the 2000s, but there’s no evidence that Twain ever said it.


Wiktionary: actions speak louder than words
Proverb
actions speak louder than words

1. It is more effective to act directly than to speak of action.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Proverb. actions speak louder than words: a person’s actions are a better indicator of character than what he or she says.
[1628 J. Pym Deb. King’s Message to hasten Supply 4 Apr. in Hansard Parl. Hist. Eng. (1807) II. 274/2 ‘A word spoken in season is like an Apple of Gold set in Pictures of Silver,’ and actions are more precious than words.]
a1730 M. Hole Pract. Expos. Church-Catechism (1732) II. 762 Actions speak louder than Words, and ‘tis in vain to be Professors of Piety, if at the same time we are Workers of Iniquity.

22 October 1904, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 6, col. 5:
Pointed Paragraphs
From the Chicago News
(...)
Actions speak louder than words, but they do not speak as often.

10 November 1904, Wisconsin Weekly Advocate (Milwaukee, WI), pg. 6, col. 5:
Actions speak louder than words, but they do not speak as often.

Chronicling America
26 November 1904, Chicago (IL) Eagle, pg. 2, col. 3:
Actions speak louder than words, but they do not speak as often.

15 January 1905, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), pg. 14:
“Actions speak louder than words, but they do not speak as often.”

11 July 1911, The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI), pg. 8, col. 5:
Actions speak louder than words, but not so often.

27 June 1929, Cambridge City (IN) Tribune, pg. 3, col. 1:
Actions speak louder than words, but not as often.

Google News Archive
4 June 1937, Pentwater (MI) News, “Uncle Phil Says,” pg. 3, col. 7:
Actions speak louder than words, but they do not speak as often.

HathiTrust Digital Library
Thesaurus of Epigrams
Edited by Edmund Fuller
New York, NY: Crown publishers
1943
Pg. 12:
Actions speak louder than words—but not so often.

Google Books
Typo Graphic
Edwin H. Stuart
1965
Pg. 86:
In helping others, actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often.

Google Books
Actions Speak Loudest:
Keeping Our Promise for a Better World

By Robert McKinnon
Guilford, CT: Lyons Press
2009
Pg. XI:
It is inspired by the famous Mark Twain saying whose end is not as well known as its beginning, “Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.”

The Telegraph (UK)
Think Tank: Brands still need words to get the message across
Slogans can animate a company and its employees, not just shape what consumers might think about its brand.

By Laurence Green9:41PM GMT 11 Feb 2012
(...)
Understanding and leveraging their power remains an important and potentially lucrative task for marketeers because, as Mark Twain once put it: “Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often”.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Thursday, December 13, 2012 • Permalink