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preach to deaf ears

To present arguments to or attempt to persuade or advise those who have no inclination to change their opinion or belief. You're preaching to deaf ears if you think you can convince these kids to stay away from alcohol before they turn 21. Even though they know they're preaching to deaf ears, the hate group makes a point of holding protests outside churches and the funerals of slain soldiers.
See also: deaf, ear, preach

preach to the choir

To try to convince someone about something that they already support or understand. You're preaching to the choir here—we all have kids and understand how busy life with kids is.
See also: choir, preach

preach to the converted

To try to convince someone about something that they already support or understand. You're preaching to the converted here—we all have kids and understand how busy life with kids is.
See also: convert, preach

Practice what you preach.

Prov. Cliché You yourself should do the things you advise other people to do. Dad always told us we should only watch an hour of television every day, but we all knew he didn't practice what he preached.
See also: practice, preach, what

preach about something

to give a moral or stern discourse on something. Please don't preach about the evils of fried food. I like the stuff, and people eat it all the time and don't die! She was preaching about the value of a fat-free diet.
See also: preach

preach against someone or something

to exhort against someone or something. The evangelist preached against the operator of the town's only saloon. The principal kept preaching against drinking and drugs.
See also: preach

preach at someone

to lecture or moralize at someone. Don't preach at me! I don't need any of your moralizing. I really don't wish to be preached at.
See also: preach

preach to someone

to give a moral discourse to someone. Please don't preach to me. I know that I did wrong. When you preach to us like that, we don't pay any attention to you.
See also: preach

preach to the choir

 and preach to the converted
Fig. to make one's case primarily to one's supporters; to make one's case only to those people who are present or who are already friendly to the issues. There is no need to convince us of the value of hard work. We already know that. You are just preaching to the choir. Don't waste your time telling us about the problem. That's preaching to the choir. Bob found himself preaching to the converted when he was telling Jane the advantages of living in the suburbs. She already hates city life.
See also: choir, preach

practice what you preach

Behave as you would have others behave, as in You keep telling us to clean up, but I wish you'd practice what you preach. This idiom expresses an ancient idea but appeared in this precise form only in 1678. Also see do as I say.
See also: practice, preach, what

preach to the converted

Try to convince someone who is already convinced, as in Why tell me smoking is bad when I gave it up years ago? You're preaching to the converted. [Mid-1800s]
See also: convert, preach

be preaching to the converted

If someone is preaching to the converted, they are presenting an opinion or argument to people who already agree with them. You're wasting your time preaching to the converted. In any case the film was, by and large, preaching to the converted. Note: The converted are people who have converted, or changed their religious beliefs. Preaching is the activity of telling people about a religion.
See also: convert, preach

practise what you preach

COMMON If you practise what you preach, you behave in the way that you encourage other people to behave. Note: The verb `practise' is spelled `practice' in American English. He practised what he preached, being more interested in moral values than money. I ought to be showing leadership and practise what I am preaching. Note: People sometimes vary this expression. The Bishop said the government had let the people down badly: it had preached love but practised hate.
See also: practise, preach, what

preach to the

To argue in favor of a viewpoint already held by one's audience.
See also: preach
References in classic literature ?
Dear friends, come and take this blessedness; it is offered to you; it is the good news that Jesus came to preach to the poor.
I've fought the occasional preacher's need to try to say everything there is to say about a text, to preach the whole gospel at once.
Her most recent book, I Refuse to Preach a Boring Sermon: Engaging 21st Century Listeners, was published in 2013 by Pilgrim Press.
In an almost feverish preach by Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church, he said he discovered the cure for AIDS.
is in the process of ending a 40-year custom of permitting lay ministers to preach at Mass.
It is both for those who preach and teach, and who think they do not need this, and for those who suffer from their preaching.
To hear Barbara Brown Taylor preach is not to be wowed by a fire-and-brimstone booming voice or otherwise dramatic delivery.
After complaining to the Mayor's Office, I contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about Boks' using a taxpayer-funded Web site to preach a sectarian religious message.
Samaniego, SJ presents If You Preach It, They Will Come, a guide filled with "tricks of the trade" to maintaining the interest levels of the faithful, intended especially for fellow preachers.
Bighead asked how many people in the class had not had the opportunity to preach.
scours a range of sources--artes praedicandi, saints' lives (Hildegard of Bingen, Birgitta of Sweden, Katherine of Alexandria, Catherine of Siena, Mary Magdalene), exempla, fabliaux, and especially Chaucer's Canterbury Tales--to explore the various strategies women used to negotiate their authority to preach, to speak freely and "exploit their claims to experience without being confined by those claims and the stereotypes that accompanied them" (123).
It will be more and more difficult to preach against sodomy, one of the crimes that Catholic tradition tells us cries out to heaven for vengeance.
Morgan, an evangelical African American from Alabama who believed herself to have been called by God to preach the Gospel through a range of expressive practices, is the kind of artist often misrepresented by the discourse of outsider art that is the legacy of Jean Dubuffet's category art brut, a bundle of primitivist cliches that continues to celebrate social isolation and madness as markers of an ideal pole of unblemished artistic expression.
He quickly learned that Hill is a Southern Baptist evangelist who unabashedly talks about the need to preach to public school students.
Later, they decided to demote Christ and preach good works.