it's the thought that counts


Also found in: Wikipedia.

it's the thought that counts

One's good intentions are more important than one's actions. Typically said when something has gone wrong or has not worked out as one had hoped. Your grandmother couldn't make it to your recital because her car wouldn't start, but she really wanted to be there, and it's the thought that counts. A: "But I wanted a toy for my birthday, not a sweater." B: "It's the thought that counts, Benjamin. Your grandmother spent a lot of time making it for you."
See also: count, that, thought

it’s the ˈthought that counts

(saying) the fact that somebody remembered about something is more important than the size or value of a present: She didn’t send him a present for his birthday, only a card, but it’s the thought that counts.
See also: count, that, thought