All bark and no bite

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All bark and no bite is an interesting idiom that is derived from another, older idiom. We will examine the meaning of the idiom all bark and no bite, from where this expression is derived, and some examples of its use in sentences.

All bark and no bite describes someone who talks in a threatening, dramatic, or sensational manner, but does not follow up with actions. The idiom all bark and no bite is often used to describe someone who is grouchy, but harmless, or someone who is verbally aggressive, but impotent. The phrase all bark and no bite came into use in the mid-1800s and is derived from the idiom his bark is worse than his bite, which had been in use since around the turn of the nineteenth century. Both of these idioms invoke the image of a barking dog that does not follow through on his hostility with a bite.


But Rhein got his FOID card reinstated and his weapons returned about 18 months later after providing state police three character references and a psychologist’s report concluding that he was “all bark and no bite,” according to court records. (The Chicago Tribune)

Gordon Ramsay – He is one of the meanest and toughest chefs out there – and he’s not just all bark and no bite. (The Herald)

“It’s pretty clear that Sanders is all bark and no bite.” (The New York Daily News)

She stressed that the city is paying Warshaw two salaries as monitor and compliance director, and that his recent statements are “all bark and no bite.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)