Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Today’s famous quote is about being straight with yourself and others.

Is the quote “say what you mean and mean what you say” from the Bible or not?

Do you know it origins and who said it? Leave a comment to let our readers know. I promise to follow up with more on this famous saying.


Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say — 28 Comments

  1. I think this quote is basic wisdom, and even though it’s anonymous a lot of people have said it. I agree with this approach, just be straight with me and say what you mean, but be kind while doing so.

  2. Actually, the “quote” is an abridged form of a quote from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”

    “March Hare: …Then you should say what you mean.
    Alice: I do; at least – at least I mean what I say — that’s the same thing, you know.
    Hatter: Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same as ‘I eat what I see’!
    March Hare: You might just as well say, that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”!
    The Dormouse: You might just as well say, that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe”!

  3. Thanks for the insight Lynn, I would have never found that! Didn’t realize Alice was saying what she means and doing what she says, or at least trying to says that. Much appreciated.

  4. no its not from the friggin bible. its a quote from Dr. Seuss.. duh.! who dont know that?? stay in school pls.

  5. While the actual quote “say what you mean and mean what you say” is not in the Bible, the idea is taught by both Jesus and James when they said, “let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay.” so which Dr. Seuss book are you referring to?

  6. @kris. I believe you are refering to Dr. Seuss book “Horton Hears a Who”.

    I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.

    The original quote came from Alice and Wonderland but has since been simpified and reused by several people.

  7. I saw it posted in a young mother’s kitchen in 1964. It was the first commandment in “Commandments for Parents (12 of them)”.

    Copyright by the Radio and Television Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention Paul M Stevens (President)

  8. I would add a clarifying statement to these 12 commandments by saying to everyone in society, young and old:
    – There is a natural pecking order in society that should not be meddled with by government programs. It is up to the parents and their children to abide by ethics (not religion).
    The “Commandments for Parents (12 of them)” along with the philosophies of Calvin & Hobbs will serve as a reasonable guide.

    It would also be nice, in addition to requiring a drivers license to drive, a gun license to carry a gun, a marriage license to marry that an additional law would require a license to breed ( those unmarried but deemed responsibile could get licensed upon pregnancy of course). Allowing one mistake plus mandatory sterilization for those deemed not responsible and unsuitable for parenthood would be allowed to minimize the necessary evil of abortion.

  9. Your comment is quite disturbing. First you say that government shouldn’t meddle then you follow it with the Marxist idea of governmental family planning. If God does not have the authority, then who is the one to say what is ethical and what is not? And why would you consider abortion to be necessary? Sounds like Mao. Yes, there are bad parents out there, which is tragic, but government control is not the answer. These 12 commandments might be good for parents, but the original 10 commandments from the Bible are good for everyone.

  10. …I’m still spinnng on the term, “friggin bible.” Who would be so blatantly disrespectful and bother to read this blog anyway? I would never think to say, “the friggin Koran” or the “friggin Torah” regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I guess everyone here is clearly saying what they mean. oh, to be in Wonderland…

  11. OK admin
    Just let the present “Road to Serfdom” prevail and it will lead to Marxism. Look at the myrad of birth problems, especially the Autistic situation, 1 in every 110 (1 in 70 are boys) children born today and the numbers are rising at 10% to 17% a year respectively. The parents are crying for economic help because it costs $3.2 million to raise an autistic to age 21. Instead of a stringent research program the government burdens the schools with attempting the impossible (plenty of government control here – do you like it?) at the expense of the overburden taxpayer who is trying to give their own children a better future. We already have to much government control of the wrong kind. A license to breed would be a little of the right kind of control. Did government control by the “Great Society Program” cause New Jersey (Newark) to have the highest rates in the country? What about the counter culture drug hippies of the 60s? A license to breed whereby the parental host bodies are deemed sound to breed is just common sense. I would think responsible parents would appreciate such a screening. It’s better than the crap shoot that is happening now. It may be Gods will to let nature take it’s coarse but it’s the creator (not yet fully explained due to our lack of knowledge of the “Big Bang” and atomic physics) who really decides via the pecking order method. That is nature’s way, tragic and painful from the stories I’ve read. I want to help my fellow man and allow the collective goodness of all throughout the world achieve positives for mankind with the minimal of encumbrances that presently impede his progress.
    Or are you for as little government as possible? Then to be truly so you must speak out against governments attempt to circumvent the natural law of the pecking order and watch the cruelty of nature take it’s course.

  12. Actually the Bible does say, “let your yes be yes and your no be no”, meaning you are supposed to mean what you say and be clear in your statements.

  13. No one has mentioned the movie “The Last Emperor”.

    Reginald Fleming ‘R.J.’ Johnston: Words are important.
    Pu Yi, at 15: Why are words important?
    Reginald Fleming ‘R.J.’ Johnston: If you cannot say what you mean, your majesty, you will never mean what you say and a gentleman should always mean what he says.

  14. Thanks for adding to the thread Gilbert – yes, that quote from The Last Emperor is a good one.

  15. My calculus professor in college always used that phrase…Everyday. He told us that it was quoted from the Bible, and I would never have any doubt about it. What better way to teach than to learn from the best.

  16. Have had fun reading these comments. I had been doing some volunteer work recently and was asked by a co-worker to define the word integrity. I thought the best answer was the quote from Alice in Wonderland. ‘Say what you mean and mean what you say.’

  17. “If you cannot say what you mean, your majesty, you will never mean what you say and a gentleman should always mean what he says.” – Reginald Fleming Johnston (The Last Emperor)

  18. “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

    George S Patton said it from my understanding

  19. well it must be biblical because i had just written that qoutation down so that i could prepare a sermon on it and ran into this site.God is in this all other commits i can do without

  20. I brought my children up to do this….I absolutely love this saying. And I also love God…for He is the Truth and the Light. To God our words are very important…for He spoke…this world into existence….your tongue is a two edged sword, so yes …say what you mean and mean what you say. It takes practice to harness our thoughts to stay thoughts, before they become words. Just sayin!!! Love all of you.

  21. I think it was the great General George S. Patton who said it, but being a huge fan of the Bible, he probably incorporated it into his personal ethic.

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