still waters run deep

Cultural Dictionary

Still waters run deep definition


A person's calm exterior often conceals great depths of character, just as the deepest streams can have the smoothest surfaces.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

still waters run deep

A quiet person may be very profound, as in Susie rarely says much, but still waters run deep. The physical observation in this term dates from ancient times, but it has been used figuratively since about 1400. Anthony Trollope amplified it in He Knew He Was Right (1869): "That's what I call still water. She runs deep enough. . . . So quiet, but soclever."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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