mouth

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See also: mouþ

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English mouth, from Old English mūþ (mouth, opening, door, gate), from Proto-Germanic *munþaz (mouth), from Proto-Indo-European *ment- (to chew; jaw, mouth). Cognate with Scots mooth (mouth), North Frisian müd, müth, müss (mouth), West Frisian mûn (mouth), Dutch mond (mouth), muide (river mouth) and mui (riptide), German Mund (mouth), Swedish mun (mouth), Norwegian munn (mouth), Faroese muður, munnur (mouth), Icelandic munnur (mouth), Gothic 𐌼𐌿𐌽𐌸𐍃 (munþs, mouth), Latin mentum (chin) and mandō (to chew), Ancient Greek μάσταξ (mástax, jaws, mouth) and μασάομαι (masáomai, to chew), Albanian mjekër (chin, beard), Welsh mant (jawbone), Hittite [script needed] (mēni, chin).

An illustration of the inside of a human mouth, with cheeks cut and lips pulled back.

Pronunciation[edit]

(noun):

(verb):

Noun[edit]

mouth (plural mouths)

  1. (anatomy) The opening of a creature through which food is ingested.
    "Open your mouth and say 'aah'," directed the doctor.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I made a speaking trumpet of my hands and commenced to whoop “Ahoy!” and “Hello!” at the top of my lungs. [] The Colonel woke up, and, after asking what in brimstone was the matter, opened his mouth and roared “Hi!” and “Hello!” like the bull of Bashan.
  2. The end of a river out of which water flows into a sea or other large body of water.
    The mouth of the river is a good place to go birdwatching in spring and autumn.
  3. An outlet, aperture or orifice.
    The mouth of a cave
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘It was called the wickedest street in London and the entrance was just here. I imagine the mouth of the road lay between this lamp standard and the second from the next down there.’
    • 2020 August 26, Tim Dunn, “Great railway bores of our time!”, in Rail, page 42:
      But why give a tunnel mouth any decoration whatsoever?
  4. (slang) A loud or overly talkative person.
    My kid sister is a real mouth; she never shuts up.
  5. (saddlery) The crosspiece of a bridle bit, which enters the mouth of an animal.
  6. (obsolete) A principal speaker; one who utters the common opinion; a mouthpiece.
  7. (obsolete) Cry; voice.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  8. (obsolete) Speech; language; testimony.
  9. (obsolete) A wry face; a grimace; a mow.

Synonyms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • Sranan Tongo: mofo

Derived terms[edit]

Pages starting with “mouth”.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb[edit]

mouth (third-person singular simple present mouths, present participle mouthing, simple past and past participle mouthed)

  1. (transitive) To speak; to utter.
    He mouthed his opinions on the subject at the meeting.
    • 1826, Julius Hare, Guesses at Truth by Two Brothers
      mouthing big phrases
  2. (transitive) To make the actions of speech, without producing sound.
    The prompter mouthed the words to the actor, who had forgotten them.
  3. To form with the mouth.
    • 1886, James Hogg, Polmood series, page 51:
      But words are nothing to the misbelieving -- mere air mouthed into a sound.
  4. (transitive) To utter with a voice that is overly loud or swelling.
  5. To exit at a mouth (such as a river mouth)
    • 1906, Philosophical Magazine, page 96:
      In this part of the address the position of the principal hanging-valleys was indicated , and it was pointed out that there were two sets, namely those which mouthed into valleys that had been deepened in softer rocks, and those which mouthed into portions of main valleys that had been deepened along shatter-bolts.
    • 1999, T. Walter Middleton, Qualla: Home of the Middle Cherokee Settlement, page 39:
      Suddenly an avalanche of stones turned loose right down a ravine and mouthed out on the road, stones large enough to knock a horse down, or larger, and a plenty of them to do a fair job on a large group.
  6. (transitive) To pick up or handle with the lips or mouth, but not chew or swallow.
    • 1887 September, Charles Robson, “Natural History Jottings: On Wasps, chiefly”, in Mordecai Cubitt Cooke, ‎John Eller Taylor, editor, Hardwicke's Science-gossip, number 273, page 210:
      She alighted and mouthed over several within a small space and a short time; and these buds were not at the bottom of the hedge; nor was she searching for a nest-site.
    • 1889, Francis Henry Hill Guillemard, The Cruise of the Marchesa to Kamschatka & New Guinea, page 165:
      His manner of feeding was curious, any fish he was provided with not being snapped up immediately, but played with and mouthed all over for a quarter of an hour or more, when it suddenly disappeared as if by magic.
    • 1920, James Willard Schultz, The Dreadful River Cave: Chief Black Elk's Story, page 50:
      He would not touch any of our food that the bears had pawed and mouthed over, fearing it might be bad medicine for him, so some was got for him from Red Wing Woman.
    • 1973, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow:
      Everyone is kind of aroused, Thanatz is sitting up on the bar having his own as yet unsheathed penis mouthed by one of the white-gloved Wends.
    • 1999, Laura Tice Lage, Sagebrush Homesteads, page 257:
      She found foamy saliva where the coyote had mouthed over the dogs, but no place showed any bite.
    The fish mouthed the lure, but didn't bite.
  7. To take into the mouth; to seize or grind with the mouth or teeth; to chew; to devour.
    • 1938, Jack Common, Seven Shifts, page 62:
      Sometimes I ate food that the rats had already mouthed over; picking away the edges where they had been eating and using the remainder; not with any good grace, not without qualms; but because I had nothing else to eat.
    • 1998, Marvin K. Rubin, Word of Mouth: A Manhattan Dentist Tells All-- (well, Almost), page 77:
      Each contained a long, wide, solid oak table around which all who could find a space the width of his body would mouth his brown-bag grub from home.
  8. To form or cleanse with the mouth; to lick, as a bear licks her cub.
    • 1915, Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries - Volume 33, page 224:
      They were sucking off whatever adhered to the floating stems and leaves of the plants. They went from plant to plant and mouthed over each branch from base to tip until the whole plant had been gone over.
    • 1937, Aquarium Journal - Volume 10, Issue 5, page 7:
      Meanwhile she, and the male, mouthed over the inner surface of pot until it was as clean as could be.
    • 1965, The Aquarist and Pondkeeper - Volumes 30-31, page 182:
      Before egg-laying begins, the spawning grounds are mouthed over (cleaned) by both sexes.
    • 1970, Christine Weston, The Hoopoe, page 6:
      Small slobs of things, wet and sticky, which Peggy herself distastefully mouthed out from her cavity, biting the cord which bound them to her, swallowing it, then licking the puppies clean one by one.
  9. To carry in the mouth.
    • 1953, Clifford Walter Emmens, Keeping and Breeding Aquarium Fishes, page 154:
      This transfer system continues until the young are free-swimming, which may be for another 3 or 4 days. Each time they are moved to a new pit, they are mouthed over and spat into their new crèche.
  10. (obsolete) To make mouths at.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of R. Blair to this entry?)
  11. To form a mouth or opening in.
    • 1773, Paul. N. Hasluck, “Lathe-Making For Amateurs”, in Amateur work, illustrated - Volume 1, page 426:
      The front end of the barrel has to be mouthed out conically, so that the various centre points may fit it.
    • 1882, Paul Nooncree Hasluck, The Metal Turner's Handbook, page 76:
      The front collar must be mouthed out as shown, to take the second cone on the mandrel.
    • 1956, Mechanical World and Engineering Record - Volume 136, page 471:
      The cutting edge of a shaving cutter should be mouthed out slightly with a fine oilstone.
  12. (sheep husbandry) To examine the teeth of.
    • 1938, Byron Hunter, ‎Harry W. Pearson, ‎Alonzo Frederick Vass, Type of Farming and Ranching Areas in Wyoming, page 96:
      Either at the shipping point or as they leave the summer range, the older ewes are “mouthed out.” That is, their mouths are examined to see if their teeth are good for another year.
    • 1957, The New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology, page 587:
      No information could be found on the relationship between the productivity of ewes and the states of their mouths. While there is no doubt that the practice of “mouthing" ewes is founded on experience, the traditional standards may require modification since the adoption almost exclusively of grassland farming, particularly in the North Island.
    • 1976, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Historical Quarterly, page 27:
      After we got the ewes "mouthed out," we turned them over to the herder that Foncy had hired to drive them to Shaniko.
    • 1977, United States. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Decisions, page 1141:
      Daniels told complainants in substance he would not buy any sheep without mouthing them.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English mūþ, from Proto-Germanic *munþaz.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

mouth (plural mouths)

  1. mouth

Descendants[edit]

References[edit]