What Does All Talk No Action Mean?

All Talk No Action Meaning

Definition: Someone who constantly talks about doing something but never takes action or follows through.

The phrase all talk and no action refers to someone who says one will do something but does not do it. It almost always carries a negative connotation and is typically used as a mild insult.

Ways to Use All Talk and No Action

There is only one way to use all talk and no action, and that is to refer to someone who always promises he or she will do something but never does it. Unlike many idioms in English, the meaning of the phrase is literal. A similar idiom in English, all bark and no bite, has the same meaning as all talk and no action.

all talk no action sayingsGenerally, people use this phrase as a mild insult, and it is almost always negative. However, it can be used lightheartedly between friends. For example, Jane might have promised Jonas on several occasions that she would take him to the movies, but she still hasn’t.

Jonas then tells her that she is “all talk and no action,” and that she’ll never take him to the movies. Jane may or may not take this as an insult depending on her relationship with Jonas. Similarly, Jonas may have said this to tease her about not taking him.

Examples of All Talk No Action

all words and no actionThis example exchange between husband and wife illustrates the correct use of this phrase.

Drew: I’m going to go job hunting tomorrow.

Brandi: You’ve been saying that for months. You’re all talk and no action.

More Examples

  • The president-elect also called Lewis—who marched and was beaten during the civil rights movement alongside Martin Luther King Jr.—all talk and no action. – USA Today
  • “We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action,” he said to cheers. – LA Times


The English phrase all talk and no action refers to someone who repeatedly promises to do something but never follows through. It is almost always used in a negative way.