Still waters run deep

Photo of author


Still waters run deep is a proverb, which is a short, common saying or phrase. These language tools particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these expressions as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are better late than never, curiosity killed the cat, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, never look a gift horse in the mouth, a blood is thicker than water, and don’t count your chickens before they hatch. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the expression still waters run deep, its etymology and its use in some example sentences.

Still waters run deep is a proverb that describes situations where more is going on under the surface than is apparent at the surface. Running water that appears to be undisturbed at the surface is usually passing over a deep channel. Running water that is disturbed, such as an area of rapids, is passing over shallow water with rocks and other debris in the terrain that are fairly close to the surface. To describe someone with the phrase still waters run deep may mean that the person may appear calm on the outside, but be seething with passion underneath their cool exterior. Still waters run deep may also mean the person appears to have nothing interesting to say, but in fact, is a deep thinker and has many ideas. The proverb still waters run deep may be traced to Rome in the first century. In Quintus Rufus Curtius’ work Alexander the Great, he writes: “altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi”, which translates as “the deepest rivers flow with the least sound”. The proverb was written as an Aesop fable that was included in the collection published by Roger L’Estrange in the 1690s as A Country-man and a River.


The saying ‘still waters run deep’ seems to be coming true, if the latest move by a calm and down-to-earth second-term lawmaker is anything to go by. (The Star)

In Captain Marvel, the creative team attempted to have a protagonist who was a little less quippy, with a personality that was little less larger-than-life and a bit more laconic or that illustrates the saying, “Still waters run deep.” (The National Review)

Currently, the two are maintaining a deathly silence but, still waters run deep and the unlikely allies will react sooner rather than later. (The Gulf News)

Help Us Improve!

Help Us Improve!

- Did we make a mistake?
- Do you have feedback or suggestions on how we can improve?

press Enter

Use Shift+Tab to go back