mince matters


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.