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Posted by Henry on July 31, 2004

In Reply to: Guilty is as guilty does posted by migster on July 31, 2004

: what exactly does "guilty is as guilty does" mean?

From the archives;

Posted by ESC on August 12, 2002 In Reply to:
Beauty is as beauty does
posted by R. Berg on August 12, 2002

: : What does this mean.
: : That, what beautiful people do is beautiful because they do it?
: : Or, you are beautiful when you do beautiful things?

: More like the second, but even more like "Physical beauty isn't important; good behavior is."

I am more familiar with the phrase "pretty is as pretty does." (Usually coupled with a warning from my mother: "Don't act ugly.") I looked the "pretty" version up and was referred to:

HANDSOME (PRETTY) IS AS HANDSOME (PRETTY) DOES - Good deeds are more important than good looks. The proverb was first recorded by Chaucer in 'The Wife of Bath's Tale' (c. 1387). In 1766, in the preface to 'The Vicar of Wakefield,' Oliver Goldsmith wrote: 'Handsome is that handsome does.' First attested in the United States in 'Journal of a Lady of Quality' . The saying is found in varying forms, including 'Beauty is as beauty does'." From the "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

Then there's the line from the movie "Forrest Gump": "Stupid is as stupid does."

* This variation using 'guilty' is more difficult to interpret. I guess that it is intended to say that if you do wrong, then you cannot escape resposibilty for the act.