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Still waters run deep

Posted by Reneed on June 07, 2007

In Reply to: Still waters run deep posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 07, 2007

: : : : I'm looking for a quote that is basically the opposite of "still waters run deep." It seems I heard one once along the lines of "it's the babbling brook that makes the noise." Is anyone familiar with the quote about the babbling brook?

: : : I'm not. But my question is -- what point are you trying to make with the phrase? There's:

: : : It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Meaning you have to make some noise to get a complaint addressed.

: : : An empty wagon makes the most noise. (Or something like that.) Meaning that noise doesn't equal value or worth. At least that's what I think it means.

: : I haven't heard the 'babbling brook" saying either - but the word "shallow" seems to be an opposite to the "still waters run deep" saying. Pamela

: The traditional phrase is "An empty *vessel* makes the greatest noise". This is the version that Shakespeare knew (he cites it as a proverb in "Henry V"). The point of the saying is that an empty metal vessel (whether a kettle cauldron or tankard) is more reverberant and therefore will make more noise when struck than a full one. (VSD)

There's a double sense to "still" that isn't being captured here: when it comes to water it also means untroubled, calm, smooth -- think of "Lead me beside still waters." (And there's a British sense I've run across where 'still water' is opposed to carbonated water.) I think there's a visual as well aural observation about deep waters folded into this phrase.