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honey +‎ mouthed


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honey-mouthed (comparative more honey-mouthed, superlative most honey-mouthed)

  1. (idiomatic) (in a positive sense) Having a sweet and smooth voice; eloquent.
    • 1627, John Donne, Fifty Sermons, London: M.F., J. Marriot & R. Royston, 1649, Volume 2, Sermon 42, p. 386,[1]
      Truely, when I reade a Sermon of Chrysostome, or of Chrysologus, or of Ambrose, Men, who carry in the very signification of their Names, and in their Histories, the attributes of Hony mouthed, and Golden-mouthed Men, I finde my selfe oftentimes, more affected, with the very Citation, and Application of some sentence of Scripture, in the middest or end of one of their Sermons, then with any witty, or forcible passage of their owne.
    • 1938, Stephen Vincent Benét, “Jacob and the Indians” in Selected Works of Stephen Vincent Benét, New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1942, Volume 2, p. 10,[2]
      [] they had much profitable conversation, McCampbell quoting the doctrines of a rabbi called John Calvin, and our grandfather’s grandfather replying with Talmud and Torah till McCampbell would almost weep that such a honey-mouthed scholar should be destined to eternal damnation.
  2. (idiomatic) (in a negative sense) Indirect, delivering a message in a way that will make it seem more pleasant to the hearer(s); seductive, persuasive.
    • 1553, Edmund Bonner (translator), Touching True Obedience by Stephen Gardiner, Rome: Hugh Singleton, “The Preface of the translatour to the gentil reader,”[3]
      Now to thintent thou mayest playnly beholde and Iudge rightly of these hony mouthed false feynyng flatterours and auncient enemyes of Christes religion the better and more readily []
    • c. 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The VVinters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii]:
      He must be told on’t, and he shall: the office
      Becomes a woman best; I’ll take’t upon me:
      If I prove honey-mouth’d let my tongue blister
      And never to my red-look’d anger be
      The trumpet any more.
    • 1858, George Eliot, “Janet’s Repentance” in Scenes of Clerical Life, London: William Blackwood, Volume 2, Chapter 7, p. 151,[4]
      [] Tryan’s sermons [] [are] not at all what I expected—dull, stupid things—nothing of the roaring fire-and-brimstone sort that I expected.”
      “Roaring? No; Tryan’s as soft as a sucking dove—one of your honey-mouthed hypocrites.”


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