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bark is worse than one's bite, one's

A person seems more hostile or aggressive than is the case, as in Dad sounds very grouchy in the morning, but his bark's worse than his bite. This phrase was a proverb by the mid-1600s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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