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mealy-mouthed

[mee-lee-moutht, -mouth d] /ˈmi liˌmaʊθt, -ˌmaʊðd/
adjective
1.
avoiding the use of direct and plain language, as from timidity, excessive delicacy, or hypocrisy; inclined to mince words; insincere, devious, or compromising.
Also, mealymouthed.
Origin
1565-1575
1565-75
Related forms
mealy-mouthedly
[mee-lee-mou-thid-lee, -th id-, -moutht-, -mouth d-] /ˈmi liˌmaʊ θɪd li, -ðɪd-, -ˌmaʊθt-, -ˌmaʊðd-/ (Show IPA),
adverb
mealy-mouthedness, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for mealy mouthed

mealy-mouthed

adjective
1.
hesitant or afraid to speak plainly; not outspoken
Derived Forms
mealy-mouthedness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from mealy (in the sense: soft, soft-spoken)
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
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Word Origin and History for mealy mouthed

mealy-mouthed

adj.

"afraid to say what one really thinks," 1570s; first element perhaps from Old English milisc "sweet," from Proto-Germanic *meduz "honey" (see mead (n.1)), which suits the sense, but if the Old English word did not survive long enough to be the source of this, perhaps the first element is from meal (n.2) on notion of the "softness" of ground flour (cf. Middle English melishe (adj.) "friable, loose," used of soils).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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