avoiding the use of direct and plain language, as from timidity, excessive delicacy, or hypocrisy; inclined to mince words; insincere, devious, or compromising: Our local government is filled with mealy-mouthed politicians and self-serving bureaucrats.
- meal·y-mouth·ed·ly [mee-lee-mou-thid-lee, -thid-, -moutht-, -mouthd-], /ˈmi liˌmaʊ θɪd li, -ðɪd-, -ˌmaʊθt-, -ˌmaʊðd-/, adverb
- meal·y-mouth·ed·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use mealy-mouthed in a sentence
They withdrew their slap on the wrist, while citing various mealy mouthed reasons.
As for all the timid, mealy-mouthed incrementalists, Porter has only contempt for that kind of thinking.Janet Folger Porter, Abortion Warrior, on Her Heartbeat Crusade | Michelle Cottle | July 7, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Twenty-five years later, he wrote a mealy-mouthed not-quite apology for his rhetoric.Al Sharpton’s Long Bill of Goods, From Tawana Brawley to Primetime | Stuart Stevens | June 3, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Appointing a task force on guns seems a little mealy-mouthed to me.
That tape will prove far more persuasive than any expedient and mealy mouthed evasions.How Obama Will Cash In on Paul Ryan: Medicare, Taxes, Education & More | Robert Shrum | August 13, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
"It's no use being mealy-mouthed over this thing, Pete," he grated in that saw-mill voice of his.The Wreckers | Francis Lynde
Never creature, but mealy-mouthed inquisitors, and shaven singing birds.The Saint's Tragedy | Charles Kingsley
"You must ask him yourself," I replied, losing patience, whereon she called me a "mealy-mouthed little fool" and laughed.Swallow | H. Rider Haggard
“You were mealy-mouthed,” he stated, with a genial retrospect in his voice.The Locusts' Years | Mary Helen Fee
The grey zone surrounding the black muzzle gives the appearance designated “mealy-mouthed.”
British Dictionary definitions for mealy-mouthed
hesitant or afraid to speak plainly; not outspoken
- mealy-mouthedness, noun
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