run at the mouth: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘run at the mouth’ mean?

The idiom "run at the mouth" means to talk excessively or without control, often using inappropriate or boastful language.

Idiom Explorer

Loquacious babble: Origins of 'Run at the Mouth'

The idiom "run at the mouth" is a colloquial expression that conveys the idea of someone talking excessively or uncontrollably. It is rooted in the English language and derived from a literal usage of the verb "run" meaning to move swiftly or to pour out, and the noun "mouth" referring to the oral cavity. Individuals who tend to engage in long-winded, often tiresome monologues are often associated with this idiom.

One interpretation of the idiom suggests that it could be related to the concept of excessive salivation or drooling. It is as if a person's mouth figuratively "runs" with an excessive flow of words or verbal expression. Another theory proposes a connection to the idea of a "running" stream or river, indicating a continuous flow of words, ideas, or thoughts without pause or interruption.

The idiom "run at the mouth" is usually used in a negative context to describe someone who talks incessantly or without restraint. These individuals may share irrelevant or uninteresting information and often embellish or exaggerate their stories or claims. The constant stream of words they provide may not always be accurate or reliable.

Furthermore, when someone is said to "run at the mouth," it can suggest that they lack the ability to listen or engage in meaningful conversation. These individuals dominate conversations and fail to give others a chance to speak or express their thoughts and opinions.

The idiom "run at the mouth" is predominantly used in informal, casual settings such as everyday conversations, personal anecdotes, or informal writing. It is less frequently used in formal or professional contexts.

Though the exact origin of the idiom is unclear, it is deeply entrenched in the idiomatic expressions of the English language. The idiom can be traced back to at least the late 19th century, as evidenced by its appearance in published texts and literary works from that period.

In a society where communication plays a vital role, the idiom "run at the mouth" captures a distinct aspect of human interaction. It serves as a reminder of the potential pitfalls of verbose and inconsiderate speech, highlighting the importance of thoughtful listening and measured conversation.

The idiom "run at the mouth" is related to other idioms like "shoot off at the mouth" and "mouth the words." These idioms share a common theme of excessive or impulsive speech without considering the thoughts or opinions of others.

The idiom "shoot off at the mouth" refers to the act of speaking hastily or recklessly. It suggests that someone is engaging in sudden, rapid-fire speech without much thought or consideration. This idiom goes hand in hand with "run at the mouth" as both convey the idea of someone talking excessively and without restraint.

On the other hand, the idiom "mouth the words" is a phrase that describes someone silently moving their lips as if they were speaking, but without producing any sound. It implies that someone is pretending to say something without actually vocalizing it. This idiom is related to "run at the mouth" as it points to a lack of meaningful or genuine speech.

As we navigate a world where words hold immense power, understanding the nuances and implications of idiomatic expressions like "run at the mouth," "shoot off at the mouth," and "mouth the words" allows us to delve deeper into the intricate tapestry of human expression and connection.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *run at the mouth* can be used in a sentence:

  1. After drinking too much, he started running at the mouth, revealing all of his deep secrets.
  2. She tends to run at the mouth when she gets nervous, often saying things she later regrets.
  3. He's known for running at the mouth during meetings, dominating the conversation and never letting others speak.

More "Talking" idioms

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