foam at the mouth

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foam at the mouth (third-person singular simple present foams at the mouth, present participle foaming at the mouth, simple past and past participle foamed at the mouth)

  1. To spew saliva as foam.
    • 1764, Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, Chapter I, [1]
      The servant, who had not stayed long enough to have crossed the court to Conrad’s apartment, came running back breathless, in a frantic manner, his eyes staring, and foaming at the mouth.
    • 1877, Anna Sewell, “A Strike for Liberty”, in Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions. The Autobiography of a Horse. Translated from the Original Equine, London: Jarrold and Sons, 3, Paternoster Buildings, OCLC 228733457, page 109:
      What I suffered with that rein for four long months in my lady's carriage, it would be hard to describe, but I am quite sure that, had it lasted much longer, either my health or my temper would have given way. Before that, I never knew what it was to foam at the mouth, but now the action of the sharp bit on my tongue and jaw, and the constrained position of my head and throat, always caused me to froth at the mouth more or less.
    • 2013, Ian Sample, “UN team heads to Syria to inspect sites of alleged chemical weapon attacks,” The Guardian, 1 August, 2013, [2]
      Sarin is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It causes a range of symptoms, from respiratory failure, eye irritation, and blurred vision to constricted pupils and drooling. People foam at the mouth when forced to breathe through massive secretions of fluid in their lungs. The expelled foam can be tinged pink with blood.
  2. (figuratively) To rage, vent one's anger.
    • c. 1609, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act V, Scene 5, [3]
      My lord,
      Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord Cloten,
      Upon my lady’s missing, came to me
      With his sword drawn; foam’d at the mouth, and swore,
      If I discover’d not which way she was gone,
      It was my instant death.
    • 1887, R. M. Ballantyne, The Fugitives, or The Tyrant Queen of Madagascar, Chapter Twelve, [4]
      [] when I returned from thrashing you I went storming through the house, kicking about the pots and pans, and foaming at the mouth in such a way that I not only stopped the spies laughing, but put them in fear of their lives.”
    • 2015, Amrit Dhillon, “India struggles to develop what it sadly lacks: A sense of humour” in The Globe and Mail, 24 February, 2015, [5]
      Various groups in Mumbai filed police complaints about the alleged obscenity of the show. Some TV anchors foamed at the mouth over how the “modesty of Indian culture” had been desecrated.