[mouth-foo l]

noun, plural mouth·fuls.

the amount a mouth can hold.
the amount taken into the mouth at one time.
a small quantity.
Informal. a spoken remark of great truth, relevance, effectiveness, etc.: You said a mouthful!
a long word or group of words, especially one that is hard to pronounce.

Origin of mouthful

1375–1425; late Middle English. See mouth, -ful

Usage note

See -ful. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for mouthful

taste, gulp, bite, piece, morsel

Examples from the Web for mouthful

Contemporary Examples of mouthful

Historical Examples of mouthful

  • Wherever the grass was greenest, there she nibbled a mouthful or two.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Can't you let other folks eat a mouthful before you have to have yours?

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Roland spat out a mouthful of dust and swore beneath his breath.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Well,” said Richards, with a mouthful of it, “I call it darn good.

  • I think I'll let him have a feed, and have a mouthful of bread and cheese myself.'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for mouthful


noun plural -fuls

as much as is held in the mouth at one time
a small quantity, as of food
a long word or phrase that is difficult to say
British informal an abusive response
informal, mainly US and Canadian an impressive remark (esp in the phrase say a mouthful)
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 mouthful

1520s, "as much as a mouth can hold," from mouth (n.) + -ful. Meaning "a lot to say" is from 1748.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mouthful


see say a mouthful.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.