What is an equivalent Portuguese expression for the phrase "actions speak louder than words"? (reference) This phrase is often used to in relation to someone's unfulfilled promises.

Example 1:

  • A: I'll come tonight.
  • B: You said that last night, and the night before. Actions speak louder than words.

Example 2: He has many great ideas, but what good are they? Actions speak louder than words.

5 Answers 5


A good portuguese version is:

Palavras, leva-as o vento.

I see it mostly used with the meaning of "words are forgotten; if you mean that, do something about it".

  • Ah, this is similar to the Spanish expression: Las palabras se las lleva el viento. Is this more common to say than the more literal translations? Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 18:03
  • Yes, it's more idiomatic than the more literal translation.
    – ANeves
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 9:45

You can have multiple variants for that expression, but I believe the word atos instead of ações is more commonly used:

  • actions worth more than words: atos valem mais que palavras (it seems this expression is already regarded as a Portuguese proverb);
  • actions weight more than words: atos pesam mais que palavras;
  • actions are more significant/remarkable than words: atos são mais significantes/notáveis que palavras;
  • actions are preferable to words: atos são preferíveis a palavras
  • actions speak louder than words: atos falam mais alto que palavras
  • attitudes speak more than words: atitudes falam mais que palavras

None of these are wrong grammatically, but the most commonly used in Portuguese seems to be the one associated to the worth of actions. The definite articles os and as can be omitted in any of these expressions (as in English).

  • I quite like atos falam mais alto que palavras. Vou passar a usar.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 9:06

In terms of popular expressions, there's one (Brazilian portuguese) that can be used with the opposite meaning, which is Falar da boca pra fora. It means something like Speak from the mouth out. As you can imagine, it's only applicable in situation involving what the person says, so only example #1. It could be translated/adapted as:

  • A: Eu irei esta noite.
  • B: Você falou a mesma coisa na noite passada, e na anterior. Você só fala da boca pra fora.

Because of the different construction, the text has to be adapted. Still, I think this is closer to what you would hear in Brazil. Precisely, the expression means that despite saying something, the person doesn't truly believe/mean it and/or plan to do it.


A equivalent expression is As ações valem mais que as palavras, although I don't think it to be very common to say this.


Entre falar e fazer, há muito que fazer

saying dedicated to all good talkers whose verbal capacity is inversely proportional to their skill to execute what they say

provérbio esse dedicado a todos os bem-falantes cuja capacidade para o verbo é inversamente proporcional às competências para executar aquilo que dizem

The attribution I found around is "traditional saying".

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