Supporting what you say, not just with words, but also through action or evidence.
Example: Arthur frequently says that he will quit drinking alcohol, but he doesn’t seem to really mean it since I saw him drinking up a storm at the bar last night. He talks the talk by saying he’ll quit, but he needs to actually stop if he wants to walk the walk.
Origin Of ‘Talk The Talk, Walk The Walk’
This phrase implies that a person should back up their talking with action. For example, a person may gloat about being capable of performing fifty push ups in one go, or they might say they can run a few miles without a problem. Someone who has their doubts, however, might ask them to “walk the walk,” which essentially means to prove it by doing it, not just by talking about it.
So how old is this phrase, anyways? Well, the phrase itself does not look to be that old. According to ThePhraseFinder, the earliest usage of this phrase comes from the Mansfield News, an Ohio newspaper printed in June 1921. There a line from the newspaper that reads:
“Although he has no gilded medals upon his bosom, Howard Herring of the North American Watch company, walks the walk, and talks the talk, of a hero today.”
- You keep bragging that you can do the splits with ease. So how about you walk the walk instead of talking the talk?
Note: The meanings for common phrases and idioms, plus the origins for them – that’s what Know Your Phrase is about! But did you know that a phrase’s origins are sometimes completely unclear? Yeah, so when this happens, what you’ll sometimes see listed under “origins” are explanation(s) that are about how the idiom may have originated, but it may not necessarily be accurate.
If no explanation is included, then you’ll usually see a quote there. These quotes are typically the oldest form of the phrase found in writing. It’s possible that older citations exist and I overlooked them. If you find an earlier citation than what I have listed, feel free to let me know via email.