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mouthful

[mouth-foo l]
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noun, plural mouth·fuls.
  1. the amount a mouth can hold.
  2. the amount taken into the mouth at one time.
  3. a small quantity.
  4. Informal. a spoken remark of great truth, relevance, effectiveness, etc.: You said a mouthful!
  5. a long word or group of words, especially one that is hard to pronounce.

Origin of mouthful

1375–1425; late Middle English. See mouth, -ful

Usage note

See -ful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mouthful

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Wherever the grass was greenest, there she nibbled a mouthful or two.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Can't you let other folks eat a mouthful before you have to have yours?

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Roland spat out a mouthful of dust and swore beneath his breath.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Well,” said Richards, with a mouthful of it, “I call it darn good.

  • I think I'll let him have a feed, and have a mouthful of bread and cheese myself.'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald


British Dictionary definitions for mouthful

mouthful

noun plural -fuls
  1. as much as is held in the mouth at one time
  2. a small quantity, as of food
  3. a long word or phrase that is difficult to say
  4. British informal an abusive response
  5. informal, mainly US and Canadian an impressive remark (esp in the phrase say a mouthful)
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

Word Origin and History for mouthful

n.

1520s, "as much as a mouth can hold," from mouth (n.) + -ful. Meaning "a lot to say" is from 1748.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mouthful

mouthful

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.