[bad-mouth or, sometimes, -mouth]
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (tr) 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
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