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bad-mouth

or bad·mouth

[bad-mouth or, sometimes, -mouth]
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verb (used with object), bad-mouthed, bad-mouth·ing.
  1. Slang. to speak critically and often disloyally of; disparage: Why do you bad-mouth your family so much?
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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 formsbad-mouth·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for bad mouth

bad-mouth

verb
  1. (tr) slang to speak unfavourably about
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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 bad mouth

bad-mouth

v.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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]

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