What Does A Man of Few Words Mean?

A Man of Few Words Meaning

Definition: A man who expresses himself without talking very much.

This expression typically has a positive connotation.

Origin of A Man of Few Words

This English phrase has been around for over 400 years. One of its first known uses was by William Shakespeare in his 1599 play King Henry V.

  • He hath heard that men of few words are the best men.

Despite the age of this phrase, its meaning has not changed much.

Examples of A Man of Few Words

a man of few words quoteHere is an example of a grandmother and her granddaughter using this expression,

Grandmother: Would you like any more grilled cheese?

Granddaughter: Oh, no thank you. Grandma, who is in this picture with you?

Grandmother: That’s your grandfather. He had died before you were born, but you would have loved him.

Granddaughter: What was he like?

Grandmother: Well, he was a man of few words. But he was a man of many kind actions. He was always trying to do things to make me happy, and he always worked hard to provide for his family.

woman of few wordsThe second dialogue shows a daughter and her father using the expression while discussing the daughter’s new boyfriend.

Father: So, tell me more about this new boy you’ve been seeing.

Daughter: What else is there to tell you? You’ve already met him. You talked to him.

Father: I talked to him, but he barely answered me. He only gave one or two-word answers.

Daughter: Well, he’s a man of few words.

Father: That’s for sure. I barely learned anything about him at all. I want you to invite him over to our house for dinner.

Daughter: Oh no, I don’t think that’s necessary.

Father: It might not be necessary, but it’s what we’re going to do. This Friday works well. Tell him we’ll be serving spaghetti.

More Examples

The below interview and description use the idiom to describe an athlete who tends to answer questions with only one or two words.

Q: What do you like to fish for?

A: “Everything.”

Q: When did you first go hunting?

A: “Seventh grade.”

Q: What did you hunt with?

A: “Shotgun.”

  • Verbs are a rarity in interviews with Scherff. He uses adjectives even more sparingly. But this man of few words has emerged as an NFL lineman of few mistakes — despite switching from left tackle at Iowa to right tackle after the Redskins chose him with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft before being converted to right guard during training camp. –Washington Post

This excerpt from an article uses the idiom to describe the pop singer Prince.

  • Even back in 1980, Prince was a man of few words. He was 19-years-old at the time and gave Clark short answers during their interview. –New York Daily News

Summary

The phrase a man of few words is an expression that means a man doesn’t speak often or much.

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