Definition of it's the thought that counts in US English:

it's the thought that counts

phrase

informal
  • Used to indicate that it is the kindness behind an act that matters, however imperfect or insignificant the act may be.

    • ‘I think I might have sent it too late to arrive by Christmas, but I suppose it's the thought that counts.’
    • ‘It's just that I'm keenly aware that it's the thought that counts.’
    • ‘Of course, no one has much time for pleasure reading right now, but it's the thought that counts, I think.’
    • ‘Almost every ingredient is farmed nowadays but it's the thought that counts.’
    • ‘A very nice lady who shared my outrage promised to buy me a drink - an easy promise to make on an anonymous message board, but it's the thought that counts.’
    • ‘I probably should have made it a bit larger, but it's the thought that counts, right?’
    • ‘I got a whole bunch of stuff and some nice books and stuff that I probably won't get a chance to read, but it's the thought that counts.’
    • ‘We're taught that when it comes to buying presents for people, it's the thought that counts.’
    • ‘Remember, it's all about giving your time, and it's the thought that counts.’
    • ‘It does not matter what the price may be, it's the thought that counts.’