A phrase used to describe someone who tends to be on the quiet side, or a person who does not have much to say when they speak.
Example: Brian doesn’t have much to say, he’s a man of few words, but I like that he’s direct and gets to the point.
‘Man Of Few Words’ Origin
This phrase means what it says, which is uncommon for many of them, at least from my experience. Indeed, ‘a man of few words’ is exactly that: Some people are not as chatty as others and might not have much to say when speaking. Perhaps the reason being is that they are shy, or maybe that’s just how they prefer to talk.
This expression with the wording that it has today has been around for at least 400 years. For example, a popular playwright known as William Shakespeare used the phrase in the play King Henry V, from 1599:
“He hath heard that men of few words are the best men.”
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- I’ve been friends with Brian for a few years now. Even though he is a man of few words much of the time, he’s still a funny guy.
Note: The origins for most common idioms cannot be said with a certainty. What’s provided are theories that may be plausible to how a phrase originated, but not necessarily so.
In addition, quotes that contain a phrase may be taken from old newspapers, poems, or books that were written centuries ago, but this by no means shows they originated from these. In all likelihood, if an expression is being used in a newspaper, it’s probably already well known, and thus, from an older period of time.