There’s a popular idiom that goes: “saying is one thing; doing is another.” But is there a word for someone who is all talk and never follows through in their actions?
In this article, we’ve provided 10 ways to describe someone who says one thing but does another, so read on!
Words for Saying One Thing and Doing Another
- The word “hypocrite” perfectly describes someone who acts in a way that is contrary to their purported beliefs.
- If someone acts in an illogical way considering the things they say, you can call them “inconsistent.”
- When someone is two-faced and cunning, you can call them “duplicitous.”
Keep reading to see how we use our three favorite adjectives for someone who says one thing but does another in some helpful examples.
Merriam-Webster defines a “hypocrite” as “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” This makes “hypocrite” one word that perfectly describes someone who will say one thing but do another.
Particularly, a “hypocrite” is usually associated with moral beliefs and behaviors. In other words, they will usually express pious beliefs about what is right and wrong. However, despite showing a clear understanding of what is moral behavior, they go on to behave in an immoral way.
Interestingly, the word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word “hypokrites,” which translates to “an actor” or “a stage player.” Therefore, you call someone a “hypocrite” when you believe that they are putting on an act to appear as though they are a more moral person than they truly are.
Now that we understand the meaning of this word, let’s see it in a couple of examples:
Like every other politician, the mayor is a hypocrite who condemns citizens for littering while his business dumps waste in our local dam.
I’ll never trust a word she says since I know her to be a hypocrite.
People who say one thing and do another can also be described as “inconsistent.”
According to Merriam-Webster, “inconsistent” means “incoherent or illogical in thought or actions.” Therefore, a person is very “inconsistent” if they say they believe one thing, yet their actions are completely contradictory.
“Inconsistent” is also a word for someone who frequently changes their mind and acts in a way that seems contradictory to their previous behavior.
Moreover, a person might seem “inconsistent” due to cognitive dissonance. This is a psychological term for when saying one thing and doing another leads to a feeling of discomfort in someone’s mind.
Therefore, you might find a person’s behavior illogical because it is impossible to know when they have changed their beliefs about a certain subject.
Consider the examples below to see this phrase in action:
I don’t go to Marlin for help because he’s too inconsistent; one day he’s decrying classism and the next, he’s looking for a rich spouse online.
She is a very inconsistent person, so it’s a good idea to take everything she says with a pinch of salt.
A person can be described as “duplicitous” if they are often caught saying one thing and doing the opposite.
Merriam-Webster defines “duplicitous” as “marked by duplicity: deceptive in words or action.” Moreover, “duplicity” is defined as “contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action.”
The word “duplicitous” comes from the Latin word “duplic,” meaning “twofold.” Therefore, you can use this word to describe someone who says two different things to different people or who says one thing but does another.
Usually, people use duplicity to manipulate others and get their way. Therefore, you’ll often see this phrase used to describe those in power, especially in politics.
To see this phrase in action, check out the example sentences below:
The former president revealed his duplicitous nature in a recent memoir about his time in office.
I will no longer tolerate her duplicitous attempts to divide us.