Mealy Mouthed

Meaning

What does Mealy Mouthed mean?

Mealy mouthed is an idiomatic expression, referring to someone who expresses themselves in an indirect manner and answers questions evasively.

The expression carries negative connotations. It can indicate that somebody is half-witted when speaking, or is trying to trick us by phrasing their sentences cunningly.

However, it can sometimes be meant in a positive way for people who are timid in speech.

Origin

What's the origin of Mealy Mouthed?

The exact origin of the expression is unknown.

The “mealy” part of the phrase refers to flour made out of wheat.

Mealy Mouthed have possibly originated during the 16th century, from the German idiom  “Mehl im Maule behalten,” which literally means “to carry meal in the mouth” and figuratively means to speak indirectly.

 

Spread & Usage

How did Mealy Mouthed spread?

The expression can often be encountered in articles of the press. This sort of figure-speech is commonly utilized by journalists.

However, mealy mouthed is not a common idiom in spoken, everyday language.

Google search data shows a huge jump in interest about mealy mouthed in March 2006.

More interesting stuff