The meaning of this proverb is clear at first glance: unless words are followed by action, they have no meaning. In fact, it's the relationship between the word and the thing it represents or symbolizes that allows us to communicate through language. If someone says they will take out the garbage, the words have meaning only if there's a connection between them and the bag of garbage ending up in the trash bin outside. If the action isn't connected to the words, the words are empty of meaning. When we give our word to someone, it's a promise to take action. The failure to follow through causes the listener to feel disappointment and, eventually, lose belief in the speaker. And the speaker feels a sense of guilt, perhaps even low self esteem, because his word has become meaningless to other people.