Speaks volumes

Speaks volumes is an idiom that is hundreds of years old. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom speaks volumes where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Speaks volumes explains something that reveals a great deal of information about something or someone. Generally, the idiom speaks volumes describes something that reveals information subtly or with subtext; the information is implied. One’s actions or choices may speak volumes about that person’s character or intent. For instance, if one chooses not to support any charitable endeavors, it speaks volumes about that person’s moral character. The expression speaks volumes came into use at the turn of the nineteenth century. The word volumes, in this case, refers to volumes of books that contain information. Related phrases are speak volumes, spoke volumes, speaking volumes.


In a summer where Wilson is visiting campuses left and right, the traditions LSU carries at the defensive back position speak volumes to what they can offer him. (Sports Illustrated)

Images speak volumes in challenging the usual depiction of Africa and people of the Afro-Diaspora. (Forbes)

Modern designs of a workplace have a lot of importance as they can affect the company’s working style and speak volumes about the company values.  (Vents Magazine)

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