speak volumes

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speak volumes

Fig. [for something that is seen] to reveal a great deal of information. The unsightly yard and unpainted house speaks volumes about what kind of people live there.
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speak volumes

Be significant, indicate a great deal, as in That house of theirs speaks volumes about their income. This idiom uses volumes in the sense of "the information contained in volumes of books." [c. 1800]
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speak volumes

COMMON If something speaks volumes, it gives you a lot of information about the true facts of a situation. What you wear speaks volumes about you. Her background, while speaking volumes about her business skills, could not convince the arts world that she was part of it. Note: In this expression, a `volume' is a book.
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speak volumes

1 (of a gesture, circumstance, or object) convey a great deal. 2 be good evidence for.
2 1998 New Scientist It was a minor scandal… but it spoke volumes about the world's shifting relationship with its favourite illicit drug.
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speak ˈvolumes (about/for somebody/something)

show or express a lot about the nature or quality of somebody/something: Her face spoke volumes. You could see how much she had suffered.The progress he’s made since the operation speaks volumes for his courage.
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References in classic literature ?
She approached me with the tongs in one hand and with a plainly bound volume in the other.
I looked along the lower rows of shelves, standing just near enough to them to read the titles on the backs of the volumes.
The volumes were smaller, and were not so carefully arranged as on the lower shelves.
A momentary blush suffused her face - perhaps, a blush of sympathetic shame for such an awkward style of presentation: she gravely examined the volume on both sides; then silently turned over the leaves, knitting her brows the while, in serious cogitation; then closed the book, and turning from it to me, quietly asked the price of it - I felt the hot blood rush to my face.
I had just finished writing "The End of the Tether" and was casting about for some subject which could be developed in a shorter form than the tales in the volume of "Youth" when the instance of a steamship full of returning coolies from Singapore to some port in northern China occurred to my recollection.
It was also my opportunity; and it would be vain to discourse about what I made of it in a handful of pages, since the pages themselves are here, between the covers of this volume, to speak for themselves.
If it had occurred to me before it would have perhaps done away with the existence of this Author's Note; for, indeed, the same remark applies to every story in this volume.
Had the volume been an unusual one, he would have sent it to me.
Even if I accepted the compliment for myself I could hardly name any volume which would be less likely to lie at the elbow of one of Moriarty's associates.
It is to the filial piety of Victor Lavalle that we owe the two volumes consecrated to the ground-life of his father, so full of the holy intimacies of the domestic hearth.
Let all, then, who love a man read these most human, tender, and wise volumes.
He looked up to watch the progress of his troops upon the walls, still enveloped in red and black volumes of smoke.
Before they died the brilliant one was detected in seventy languages as the author of but two or three books of fiction and poetry, while the other was honoured in the Bureau of Statistics of his native land as the compiler of sixteen volumes of tabulated information relating to the domestic hog.
He turned to the side-table, and, producing the volumes of the Newgate Calendar, gave one to his brother.
With that frank acknowledgment--to which the great majority of his companions at school and college might have subscribed without doing the slightest injustice to the present state of English education--Geoffrey drew his chair to the table, and opened one of the volumes of his record of crime.