bring a lump to someone’s throat: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘bring a lump to someone's throat’ mean?

The idiom "bring a lump to someone's throat" means to evoke deep emotions or cause someone to become emotional, often resulting in a lump or tight feeling in their throat.

Idiom Explorer

Enigmatic Emotion Stir: Lump-induced Throats

The idiom "bring a lump to someone's throat" is a powerful expression that evokes deep emotions. It describes a situation or event that elicits sadness, compassion, or nostalgia. When someone experiences this idiom, it means that they are moved or touched in such a profound way that they feel a lump in their throat.

This idiom is closely related to the physical sensation of having a lump in one's throat, which is commonly experienced when one is about to cry or feels intense emotions. The lump in the throat is often associated with an inability to speak due to overwhelming emotions. Similarly, when something brings a lump to someone's throat, it signifies a powerful emotional response that renders them speechless or deeply affected.

The origins of this idiom can be traced back to the physical experience of feeling a lump in one's throat when experiencing intense emotions. It is a metaphorical representation of the physiological response to sentimental or poignant moments. The idiom gained popularity and became widely recognized for its ability to encapsulate the visceral reaction that certain events or experiences can provoke.

The sentimental movie left me with a lump in my throat.

The usage of this idiom is predominantly found in informal conversations and written contexts. It is often used in literary works, movies, and personal anecdotes to describe heartfelt moments or instances that deeply resonate. The idiom allows individuals to convey the profound impact of these experiences in a concise and evocative manner.

An idiom related to "bring a lump to someone's throat" is "force something down someone's throat." This idiom is used to describe a situation where someone is aggressively and persistently trying to make someone accept or believe something. The connection between these idioms lies in the idea of emotional impact. While "bring a lump to someone's throat" represents a positive emotional response, "force something down someone's throat" conveys a negative emotional experience where someone feels overwhelmed or coerced.

Another related idiom is "bone in the throat." This idiom is used to depict a situation where someone encounters an obstacle or challenge that they find difficult to overcome or resolve. The connection between this idiom and "bring a lump to someone's throat" is the element of feeling choked or hindered by emotions or circumstances. Both idioms imply a sense of discomfort, whether it be emotional or physical, that hinders one's ability to move forward or express themselves freely.

Examples of situations or events that could bring a lump to someone's throat include watching a moving tribute to a loved one, witnessing an act of kindness or selflessness, recalling a cherished memory, or experiencing a bittersweet farewell. These moments evoke a sense of empathy, nostalgia, or overwhelming emotions that manifest physically as a lump in one's throat.

The idiom "bring a lump to someone's throat" holds great significance as it reflects the power of emotions to influence our physical well-being. It is a reminder of the profound impact that certain experiences can have on our lives, momentarily bringing us to a state of vulnerability and introspection. Through this idiom, we are compelled to acknowledge and appreciate the depth of our emotional connections and the lasting impressions they leave within us.

Example usage


  1. My grandfather's speech at the graduation ceremony brought a lump to my throat.
  2. Watching the emotional and heartwarming movie brought a lump to my throat.
  3. The heartwrenching story of the war survivor brought a lump to everyone's throat.

In these examples, the idiom "bring a lump to someone's throat" is used to express a strong emotional reaction, typically a feeling of sadness or nostalgia, that causes a physical tightness or constriction in the throat. The phrase conveys the idea that something is deeply affecting or moving, often to the point of being difficult to speak or swallow due to the surge of emotions experienced.

More "Emotion" idioms