or meal·y·mouthed

[ mee-lee-moutht, -mouthd ]
See synonyms for mealy-mouthed on
  1. 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.

Origin of mealy-mouthed

First recorded in 1565–75; mealy + mouthed

Other words from mealy-mouthed

  • 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

Words Nearby mealy-mouthed Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mealy-mouthed in a sentence

  • "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


  1. hesitant or afraid to speak plainly; not outspoken

Origin of mealy-mouthed

C16: from mealy (in the sense: soft, soft-spoken)

Derived forms of mealy-mouthed

  • 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