it's not the whistle that pulls the train

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Proverb[edit]

it's not the whistle that pulls the train

  1. Boasting and loud talk should not be mistaken for the work that produces real achievements; bravado is no proof of action.
    • 1956 July 1, James Reston, "Washington: It's Not the Whistle that Pulls the Train," New York Times, p. E8:
      “In the words of the nursery rhyme,” says Mr. Green, “‘it isn't the whistle that pulls the train.’”
    • 1962, American Flint, American Flint Glass Workers' Union, vol. 62, p. 17:
      Until then, remember, don't brag, it's not the whistle that pulls the train.
    • 2005, Eve-Lyn Woodard, Resounding Echoes, ISBN 9781594679308, p. 113:
      The shiny aluminum body of the 1928 Peerless race car with its rumble seat and purchase price of 50 dollars must have put Kenwood in a boastful mood because Grandma Proper immediately stated, “Kenwood you must remember that it is not the whistle that pulls the train.”

Usage notes[edit]

  • This expression was used as the title of a children's song recorded in 1954 by Kitty Kallen.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ “Kitty Kallen's first kiddie record, ‘It's Not the Whistle that Pulls the Train’ and ‘I'm a Little Teapot,’ will be released by Decca shortly.” (The Billboard, 18 Sept. 1954, p. 14.)