Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

a big noise

An important, successful, or influential person. Did you hear that Kelly got promoted to senior analyst? She's a big noise now.
See also: big, noise

empty vessels make (the) most noise

Foolish, unwise, or stupid people are the most talkative. Of course silly old Aunt Helen babbles constantly—empty vessels make the most noise.
See also: empty, make, most, noise, vessel

empty vessels make the most sound

Foolish, unwise, or stupid people are the most talkative. Of course silly old Aunt Helen babbles constantly—empty vessels make the most sound.
See also: empty, make, most, sound, vessel

make (all) the right noises

To behave as though one is enjoying, supporting, or enthusiastic about something, even if that is not the case. I hate going to these fundraisers, but I've learned to make the right noises over the years. The senator made all the right noises about the issue last fall, but, six months later, she hasn't done a single thing to address it.
See also: make, noise, right

make a noise about (something)

To draw attention to something, as through loud, forceful discussion or complaints. There's a guy at the customer service desk who's been making a noise for the last hour about getting bumped off the flight. We're making an effort in the school to make a noise about bullying, highlighting how far reaching it can be into the lives of students.
See also: make, noise

make noises about (something)

To have a very broad, general discussion about something one might do or wants to do, without getting into specific details or plans. She's been making noises about going to art school for years, but so far she hasn't made any steps toward making that happen.
See also: make, noise

make noise (about something)

To be very vocal or outspoken about something, especially that which one dislikes or disagrees with. "Noise" is often preceded my adjectives like "a lot of," "more," "much," etc. Consumers have begun making a lot more noise about policies of the company that they claim are manipulative and predatory. We have to continue making noise, or else the people in congress who can actually fix the law will never pay attention to the issue.
See also: make, noise

Empty vessels make the most sound.

Prov. Foolish people make the most noise. I suspect Amy is not very smart. She chatters constantly, and as they say, empty vessels make the most sound.
See also: empty, make, most, sound, vessel

noise something about

 and noise something abroad; noise something around
to spread around a secret; to gossip something around. Now don't noise it about, but I am going to Houston next week to see my girl. Please don't noise this abroad. Stop noising that gossip around.
See also: noise

make noises

COMMON If you make noises about something you might do, you mention it briefly in a way that is not definite or detailed. Hall has recently been making noises about buying back the club. His mother had started making noises about it being time for him to leave home. Note: Adjectives are sometimes added before noises. He made all sorts of encouraging noises that he would love Scotland to stage the European Championships.
See also: make, noise

make the right noises

If someone makes the right noises about a problem or issue, their remarks suggest that they will deal with the situation in the way that you want them to. The President was making all the right noises about multi-party democracy and human rights. The Labour party certainly made the right noises about transport when they wanted our votes at the last General Election.
See also: make, noise, right

empty vessels make the most sound


empty vessels make the most noise

People say empty vessels make the most sound or empty vessels make the most noise to mean that people who talk a lot and give their opinions a lot are often not very intelligent or talented. There's a lot of truth in that old saying, `Empty vessels make the most sound'. Those who are actually content with their choices are not usually interested in telling the rest of us about them. Note: People like this can be called empty vessels. These `experts' who talk a lot but actually say nothing have been shown up for the empty vessels they are. Note: A vessel is a container such as a jug, pot or jar.
See also: empty, make, most, sound, vessel

empty vessels make most noise (or sound)

those with least wisdom or knowledge are always the most talkative. proverb
Vessel here refers to a hollow container, such as a bowl or cask, rather than a ship.
See also: empty, make, most, noise, vessel

make a noise

speak or act in a way designed to attract a lot of attention or publicity.
See also: make, noise

a big ˈname/ˈnoise


a ˈbig shot

(informal) an important person: ‘What does Ian’s dad do?’ ‘Oh, he’s a big shot in the City.’ OPPOSITE: small fry
See also: big, name, noise

make a (lot of) ˈnoise (about something)

(informal) talk or complain about something a lot: People are making more noise these days about pollution.The unions are making a lot of noise about the new legislation.
See also: make, noise

make ˈnoises (about something)

(informal) show that you are interested in something/in doing something, but not in a direct way: The government has been making noises about listening to the public but it still hasn’t changed any of its policies.She hasn’t exactly said that she wants to change her job but she has been making noises in that direction.
See also: make, noise

make (all) the right ˈnoises

(informal) behave as if you support or agree with something, usually because it is fashionable or to your advantage to do so: The doctors are making the right noises about the reforms to the health service, but I’m not sure that they actually agree with them.
See also: make, noise, right

big noise

1. n. an important person. If you’re such a big noise, why don’t you get this line moving?
2. n. the important current news; the current scandal. There’s a big noise up on Capitol Hill. Something about budget cuts.
See also: big, noise


1. n. empty talk; nonsense. I’ve had enough of your noise. Shut up!
2. n. heroin. (Drugs.) Man, I need some noise now! I hurt!
References in classic literature ?
Some of the walls were four feet thick, and there used to be queer noises inside them, as if there might be a little secret staircase.
When this last task had been achieved, the shouts and cries grew fainter; the clank of fetters, which had resounded on all sides as the prisoners escaped, was heard no more; all the noises of the crowd subsided into a hoarse and sullen murmur as it passed into the distance; and when the human tide had rolled away, a melancholy heap of smoking ruins marked the spot where it had lately chafed and roared.
That is true," said Sancho, "since the mere noise of the hammers of a fulling mill can disturb and disquiet the heart of such a valiant errant adventurer as your worship; but you may be sure I will not open my lips henceforward to make light of anything of your worship's, but only to honour you as my master and natural lord.
It was easy to call his jailer's attention to the noise, and watch his countenance as he listened; but might he not by this means destroy hopes far more important than the short-lived satisfaction of his own curiosity?
If, on the contrary, it is a prisoner, the noise I make will alarm him, he will cease, and not begin again until he thinks every one is asleep.
The day passed away in utter silence -- night came without recurrence of the noise.
At intervals he listened to learn if the noise had not begun again, and grew impatient at the prudence of the prisoner, who did not guess he had been disturbed by a captive as anxious for liberty as himself.
At the slightest noise he bounded towards the door.
I could not help feeling that if he obtained some evidence for his senses by any sort of noise, voice, or movement, his madness would gain strength enough to burst the lock.
I suppose he had got up on the bench, and fumbling about amongst them must have brought one down, which, falling, had produced that rattling noise.
He on the other side of the door naturally heard the noise and greeted it with a triumphant screech: "Aha
He had been decoyed into that town, he screamed, getting more and more excited by the noise he made himself, in order to be exposed to this
He was just about to resume his trudge in the twilight, telling himself it was no affair of his, but instinctively twisting and untwisting twenty theories about what the odd noises might mean.
Those noises at night make the hair on my head bristle.
I never thought much about fear and that sort of thing--never tried to determine whether I was a coward or brave man; but the other night as we lay in the jungle there after poor D'Arnot was taken, and those jungle noises rose and fell around us I began to think that I was a coward indeed.