phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Empty vessels

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 11, 2004

In Reply to: What does it mean? posted by joy on December 11, 2004

: 1.empty vessels make the most sound.
: 2.he stole his thunder.
: 3.she's thirty if she's a day?

I assume that English is your second language,right? Anyway, statement no. 1 can be easily tested, if you find the right vessel, that is, container of some sort, like a jug. The problem is to get them to sound. Sound is made by causing the air to vibrate, and empty jugs have more air in them than full ones. A big drum (a form of container for air) makes more noise than a small one. You normally don't have "full" drums and empty ones, but the two sizes of drum do illustrate the principle.
2. Important people, like Zeus or Thor, have thunder at their disposal. So does anyone in a position to deliver a thunderous pronouncement or judgment or proposal or the like. To steal Thor's thunder is to steal his ability to show his importance, his ability to make a big impression. To steal my thunder is to preempt my ability to deliver an important statement by delivering it yourself, leaving me holding the bag.
3. She's thirty if she's a day. This has been dealt with in the Archives. It's obvious that she's at least a day old, and equally obvious that she's at least thirty years old. Said with a sneer. SS

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