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What Do You Do With Your Mouth?


Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.


People use their mouths for many things. They eat, talk, shout and sing. They smile and they kiss. In the English language, there are many expressions using the word mouth. But some of them are not so nice.

For example, if you say bad things about a person, the person might protest and say "Do not bad mouth me."

Sometimes, people say something to a friend or family member that they later regret because it hurts that person's feelings. Or they tell the person something they were not supposed to tell. The speaker might say: "I really put my foot in my mouth this time." If this should happen, the speaker might feel "down in the mouth." In other words, he might feel sad for saying the wrong thing.

Another situation is when someone falsely claims another person said something. The other person might protest: "I did not say that. Do not put words in my mouth."

Information is often spread through "word of mouth." This is general communication between people, like friends talking to each other. "How did you hear about that new movie?" someone might ask. "Oh, by word of mouth." A more official way of getting information is through a company or government mouthpiece. This is an official spokesperson. Government-run media could also be called a mouthpiece.

Sometimes when one person is speaking, he says the same thing that his friend was going to say. When this happens, the friend might say: "You took the words right out of my mouth!" Sometimes a person has a bad or unpleasant experience with another person. He might say that experience "left a bad taste in my mouth." Or the person might have had a very frightening experience, like being chased by an angry dog. He might say: "I had my heart in my mouth."

Some people have lots of money because they were born into a very rich family. There is an expression for this, too. You might say such a person, "was born with a silver spoon in his mouth."

This rich person is the opposite of a person who lives from hand to mouth. This person is very poor and only has enough money for the most important things in life, like food.

stop mouthing offstop mouthing off

Parents might sometimes withhold sweet food from a child as a form of punishment for saying bad things. For example, if a child says things she should not say to her parents, she might be described as a "mouthy child." The parents might even tell the child to "stop mouthing off."

But enough of all this talk. I have been "running my mouth" long enough.

Words and Their Stories in VOA Special English was written by Jill Moss.

I'm Christopher Cruise.


1. Do not bad mouth me.
别说我坏话。 Mouth在这里做动词,表示说某人坏话。例如:I won’t bad mouth Jay even if it kills me.打死我也不说杰伊的坏话。
2. I really put my foot in my mouth this time.
Put one’s foot in one’s mouth这个短语的意思是say something embarrassing, make a faux-pas(失言,说错话了)。当你说了不该说的话时,突然发觉你说错话了,就会这么说。例如:“I certainly put my foot in my mouth at the party last night when I asked Mister Brown to say hello to his wife for me. Somehow I’d forgotten that his wife died six months ago.”他说:我昨晚在聚会上无意中说错了话。我让布朗先生替我向他的太太问好。不知怎么回事,我忘了他太太已经在半年前去世了。

3. down in the mouth
Down in the mouth是口语,意思是沮丧、垂头丧气例如:Why do you look so down in the mouth ?(你为什么显得这样消沉?She gets down in the mouth over the least little thing.(她动不动就情绪低落。)类似的短语还有down in the dumps,也是形容情绪低落。

4. Do not put words in my mouth
这个短语的意思是替某人说出你觉得他该说的话,把话强加于某人I never mentioned going away for a holiday: don’t put words into my mouth.(我从来没有提到过去度假:不要把这个话强加于我!)Now you’re putting words into my mouth. When did I say anything about moving(你这是强加于人,我什么时候说过我搬家的事?)
5. word of mouth/by word of mouth
Word of mouth就是我们常说的口碑By word of mouth是指人们经由一传十,十传百的口传方式得知某件事,也就是藉着口耳相传,大家告诉大家的意思。例如:AThis restaurant is so small, but it’s always crowded. How did you find out about it?BI heard by word of mouth that they had great food.A:这家餐厅很小,但却始终客满。你是怎么知道这家餐厅的?B:我是藉着人家口耳相传,知道他们卖的东西很好吃的。)

6. mouthpiece
Mouthpiece原意是指(乐器、烟斗等的)嘴儿,衔在嘴中的部分,接近嘴的部分,引申为喉舌、代言人、机关报。例如:The newspaper is the mouthpiece of the government.(这家报纸是政府的机关报。)

7. You took the words right out of my mouth
Take the words right out of one’s mouth意思是说出了某人想说的话,观点不谋而合。例如:A: Did you see that girl in our English class. She is really beautiful. B: You took the words right out of my mouth.A:你看见英语课上那个女孩儿了吗?她可真漂亮。B:我也正想这么说。)

8. left a bad taste in my mouth
Leave a bad taste in one’s mouth这个短语的意思是留下坏印象。例如:Her rudeness to the old man left a bad taste in my mouth.(她对那位老人的粗暴态度,给我留下很坏的印象。)此外,leave a nasty taste in one’s mouth也可以表达同样的意思。

9. I had my heart in my mouth
Have/bring one’s heart in one’s mouth是指某事使人非常害怕,就好像心都被提到了嗓子眼。例如:I had my heart in my mouth when the other car ran through the red light and I knew we were about to crash(当我看到那辆车闯红灯时,我知道我们要撞车了。当时我的心都快跳到嗓子眼了。)表达类似意思的t短语还有:make one’s heart leap out of his mouthone’s heart stood still等。

10. a person, “was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth意思是某人生在一个很富有的家庭,根本就不用到外面去找工作来谋生。这种说法来源于欧洲的有钱人以前的一种习惯做法。当家长为一个新生婴儿取名字的时候,他们要举行一个宗教仪式。在举行仪式的时候,他们给这个孩子一个银子做的勺。例如:I’ll tell you the good thing about our boss. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and doesn’t have to work at all. But he really works harder than anybody in the office.(我来告诉你我们老板的优点。他出生在一个非常有钱的家庭;他根本不需要工作。但是,他工作非常努力,真是比办公室里任何人都更加努力。)

11. live from hand to mouth
这个短语的意思是仅能糊口、糊口度日,也就是我们说的家无隔宿粮,现赚现吃。如:He got very little pay so he lived from hand to mouth.(他因薪水微薄所以仅能糊口。)
12. a mouthy child
一个喜欢多话的小孩儿。Mouthy做形容词意思是someone who talks a lot and says what he thinks even if it is rude用来表示说大话的或者爱说话的,多嘴的
13. stop mouthing off
这个短语的意思是不要再胡说了。例如If you don’t stop your mouth off, I won’t tell you anything in the future.(如果你还不停止胡说八道,以后我什么也不告诉你了。)
14. running my mouth
Run one’s mouth意思是to talk excessively or foolishly(说得太多,大嘴巴)。在这里作者的意思是他这次说得已经够多了。

















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