(English Idioms & Sayings)
Mouth and Teeth Idioms
give (someone) a tongue-lashing
- to give someone a severe scolding
The mother gave her daughter a tongue-lashing when she got home from school.
give voice to (something)
- to speak out about something
The small organization gives voice to many of the poor people in the city.
gnash one's teeth
- to grind one's teeth
I often gnash my teeth when I am sleeping.
grit one's teeth
- to grind one's teeth together in anger or from stress or determination
I grit my teeth and began to clean up after the students' party.
guard one's tongue
- to be careful of what one says
I always have to guard my tongue when I am speaking with my friend's parents.
have a big mouth
- to be a person who gossips or tells secrets
The woman has a big mouth and can never keep a secret.
have a say/voice (in something)
- to have a part in making a decision
I want to have a say in the decision of whether or not we must begin to work in the evenings.
have a sweet tooth
- to like to eat sweet foods
The girl has a sweet tooth and she loves chocolate.
hold one`s tongue
- to be silent, to not talk
"Please hold your tongue," the teacher said to the young boy.
keep a civil tongue
- to speak decently and politely
I tried to keep a civil tongue during my argument with the store clerk.
keep a stiff upper lip
- to be brave, to face trouble bravely
We tried to keep a stiff upper lip when the company announced that they would close our office.
keep one`s mouth shut
- to be/stay silent
I tried hard to keep my mouth shut during the boring speech.
laugh out of the other side of one's mouth
- to change from being happy to being sad
The woman was laughing out of the other side of her mouth when she learned that she would not be promoted.
leave a bad taste in one`s mouth
- to leave a bad feeling or memory with someone
The way that the company treated us left a bad taste in our mouth.
lick one's chops
- to show one's eagerness to do something or eat something (by licking one's lips)
The salesman began to lick his chops when he saw the potential customers at the business convention.
lick one's lips
- to show eagerness to do something or eat something
The little boy began to lick his lips when he saw the candy in the window.
lie through one's teeth
- to lie in a bold manner
The man in the restaurant began to lie through his teeth during the criminal investigation.
like pulling teeth
- to be very difficult to do
It was like pulling teeth to try and get the boy to lend us his bicycle.
lips are sealed
- one will not tell a secret
My lips are sealed and I will not tell anybody the secret.
live from hand to mouth
- to live in poor circumstances, to have little money
The man has been living from hand to mouth for many years now.
long in the tooth
The man was feeling a little long in the tooth and he did not have much energy.
loosen (someone's) tongue
- to relax someone and make them say something that they normally would not say
I went to the coffee shop with my friend where I tried to loosen his tongue.
- a noisy/boastful/foolish talker
My friend is a loudmouth and he is always making plans but he never does anything with them.
lower one's voice
- to speak more softly
The teacher asked the student to lower his voice.
make one`s mouth water
- to make someone want to eat or drink something that one sees or smells
The smell of the fish cooking in the restaurant made my mouth water.
melt in one`s mouth
- to taste very good, to be very tender (for meat)
The pasta served at the new restaurant melted in our mouths.
no skin off (someone's) teeth
- of no interest/concern/trouble to someone
It is no skin off my teeth whether my friend come's to the restaurant with us or not.
not open one's mouth
- to not say anything at all
The man in the movie theater was told not to open his mouth at all.
on everybody's lips
- many people are talking or thinking about the same thing
The wedding scandal with the famous actress is on everybody's lips.
on the tip of one`s tongue
- almost able to remember something that you have forgotten
My former teacher's name is on the tip of my tongue and I will soon remember it.
pay lip service to (someone or something)
- to support someone or something by words but not by actions
The politician paid lip service to the proposal to build a new subway system but he did not really want one.
pull (someone's) tooth out
- to take someone's tooth out (usually done by a dentist)
I went to the dentist so he could pull my tooth out.
put one`s foot in one`s mouth
- to get into trouble by saying something embarrassing or rude
My colleague put his foot in his mouth when he told everyone that he did not like the new manager.
put one's money where one's mouth is
- to stop saying that you will do something and actually do it
The man always talks about helping other people but he never does anything. We finally told him to put his money where his mouth is and do something.
put some teeth into (something)
- to increase the power of something
The government finally put some teeth into the new law.
put the bite on (someone)
- to try to get money from someone
I plan to put the bite on my friend in order to get some money for the weekend.
put words into (someone`s) mouth
- to speak for another person without permission
My boss put words into my mouth when he told me what he thought I wanted to do.
ram (something) down (someone's) throat
- to force someone to do or agree to something that they do not want
The lawyer rammed the settlement down my throat even though I was not happy with it.
read (someone's) lips
- to listen carefully and believe what someone is saying
The supervisor told everybody to read his lips and listen carefully to what he was saying.
run off at the mouth
- to talk excessively
The girl is always running off at the mouth when she is with her friends.
say a mouthful
- to say something of great importance or meaning, to say a lot
The little boy said a mouthful when he talked about the history material.
set one's teeth on edge
- to be unpleasant and to give one an uncomfortable feeling
The idea that we would have to leave our apartment immediately set my teeth on edge.
set tongues wagging
- to cause people to start gossiping
The things that the woman does during her free time always sets tongues wagging at the office.
a sharp tongue
- a way of talking/speaking to others that is unkind/bad/critical
The woman has a sharp tongue and she says some very unkind things to others.
shoot one's mouth off
- to talk too much, to boast, to tell someone's secrets
The young man began to shoot his mouth off in the supermarket.
shove (something) down (someone`s) throat
- to force someone to do or agree to something that is not wanted
I do not like him because he is always trying to shove his ideas down my throat.
show one's teeth
- to show one's anger or strength as a warning to someone not to argue or fight with you
Our supervisor showed his teeth when I began to argue with him about my job.
Shut your mouth!
- Please be quiet and close your mouth!
"Shut your mouth," I said to the man talking loudly in the library.
sink one`s teeth into (something)
- to have something real or solid to think about or struggle with, to take a bite from some kind of food
I was finally able to sink my teeth into the problem and find a solution.
I sank my teeth into the apple and took a bite.
slip of the tongue
- a mistake of saying something that one did not want to say, an error of speech
I made a slip of the tongue when I told the unpopular woman that we will have a party soon.
speak with a forked tongue
- to tell lies, to try to deceive someone
The man speaks with a forked tongue and you cannot believe what he says.
straight from the horse's mouth
- direct from a source that has authority and is dependable
I heard about the party straight from the horse's mouth.
take the words out of (someone`s) mouth
- to say what someone else was just going to say
My friend took the words out of my mouth when he said that he wanted to get something to eat.
- difficulties and problems experienced in the early stages of a project/activity
The project has many teething problems that we must deal with.
throw one's voice
- to project one's voice so that it appears to be coming from some other place
The performer likes to throw his voice when he entertains children.
tongue in cheek
- jokingly, insincerely, mockingly, not really meaning something
The comment by our teacher was tongue in cheek and she did not mean it.
tooth and nail
- fiercely, (fighting) as hard as possible
We fought tooth and nail to build the new wing of the hospital.
watch one's mouth/tongue
- to not say something, to not be rude
The boy was told by his teacher to watch his tongue.
zip one's lip
- to not talk, to not tell a secret
I told my friend to zip his lip and stop arguing with me.
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(English Idioms & Sayings)