When talking about the actions of a powerful entity, I need an idiom to convey that the effects will be profound.

The only one that is close to this that I can think of is "When a big tree falls, the earth shakes". However, this is not useful for all situations, as this idiom is for when something negative ("falls") happens to that entity.

  • 1
    So far, I have been unable to come up with anything more appropriate than that quote. As a metaphor, falling does not need to be taken literally. Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 10:26
  • I have checked the usage, but it seems to have that negative connotation at all times. It does not give agency to the entity. Its more about something happening to the entity rather that it actuating something
    – ColonD
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 13:15

2 Answers 2


I just had a "shooting star" going through my head:

When the lion roars everyone listens.

I think it fits you your needs.


I know a French quote that says:

« Le battement d'ailes d'un papillon au Brésil peut-il provoquer une tornade au Texas ? » Edward Lorenz

I translated it into English for you:

« The flapping of a butterfly's wings in Brazil can provoke a tornado in Texas »

If you want, you can read more about the Butterfly effect. One quote from there says:

One meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a sea gull's wings would be enough to alter the course of the weather forever. The controversy has not yet been settled, but the most recent evidence seems to favor the sea gulls.

  • While the observation is good, it does not fit the needs of the OP. The butterfly might generate big effects, but not every movement of every butterfly is noticed.
    – virolino
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 8:24
  • Well I guess you didn't get the meaning of the butterfly effect, because it is literally the opposite of what you just said.
    – Ced
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 8:27
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    The butterfly effect is more about chaos, and how small actions can eventually lead to unexpected big results. It does not match this situation
    – ColonD
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 13:13

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