more cry than wool

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Derived from the practice of shearing sheep, in which the sheep may "cry" as their wool is removed. The earliest recorded variation appears to be by 15th century English lawyer John Fortescue, who wrote "Moche Crye and no Wull" in De laudibus legum Angliae (c. 1470), ch. x.


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more cry than wool

  1. (idiomatic) Dramatic assertions backed by little evidence
    • 1747, John Smith, Chronicon Ruſticum Commerciale; or, Memoirs of Wool, &c., London: T. Osborne, page 304:
      Theſe are the Crimes of which we are guilty, before any Law to prohibit us: it were more allowable to plant Poiſon than to Manufacture with us, and we lie, it ſeems, under ſuch an Obloquy and Clamour, (which, as far as I can judge by your Letter, you alſo liſten to) that, as to import our Cattle to you is a Nuſance, and to export our Wools is Felony ; ſo, by Gradation, to erect here a Manufacture ought to be no leſs than Treaſon. And yet there is more Cry than Wool in all this Matter : For I dare, and do aſſure you, that, modeſtly ſpeaking the whole Quantity of what we work up in Ireland, amounts not to the Half of what any one Clothing-County in England does.
    • 1999 February 26, Selya, Bruce M., “Aguilar-Solis v. INS”, in 1st Cir. 1999[1], case no. 98-1484:
      In rebuttal, the petitioner offers more cry than wool. He points first to the vague threats that his family and friends relayed to him during his 1990 return to El Salvador, and speculates that members of the FMLN still sought to harm him at that time. This is unabashed surmise.

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