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mince matters

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Also, mince words. Moderate or restrain one's language to be polite or avoid giving offense. Today these phrases are nearly always put negatively, as in Not to mince matters, I feel he should resign, or Don't mince words—say what you mean. The usage dates from the mid-1500s and transfers cutting something such as meat into small pieces to minimizing the harsh impact of words.

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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.

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