fine words butter no parsnips

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

In 17th century, found in various forms with the adjective for the words or the food that is buttered being different, thus allowing combinations of "fine/fair/soft words butter no parsnips/cabbage/fish/connie" before becoming standardized in the form "fine words butter no parsnips".

Etymology[edit]

Attested as early as 1639 as "faire words butter nor parsnips" alluding to the English habit of buttering foods to make them more palatable.

Proverb[edit]

fine words butter no parsnips

  1. Talking about doing something does not get it done.

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