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or badmouth

[bad-mouth or, sometimes, -mouth] /ˈbædˌmaʊθ or, sometimes, -ˌmaʊð/
verb (used with object), bad-mouthed, bad-mouthing.
Slang. to speak critically and often disloyally of; disparage:
Why do you bad-mouth your family so much?
Origin of bad-mouth
1935-40; originally a curse, spell (the sense recorded in Gullah); compare Vai (Mande language of Liberia and Sierra Leone) dà nyà mà curse, literally, bad mouth
Related forms
bad-mouther, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bad mouth
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for bad mouth


(transitive) (slang) to speak unfavourably about
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bad mouth



"abuse someone verbally," 1941, probably ultimately from noun phrase bad mouth (1835), in Black English, "a curse, spell," translating an idiom found in African and West Indian languages. Related: Bad-mouthed; bad-mouthing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bad mouth


noun phrase

: If you can't say anything good, at least don't be a bad mouth

verb phrase

To disparage; denigrate: He bad-mouthed everybody (1930s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bad mouth

bad mouth

Disparage or criticize unduly, malign, as in Why do you constantly bad mouth your colleagues? This term is believed to be of African origin, where the phrase bad mouth signifies a curse or evil spell. [ 1930s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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