"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[mee-lee-moutht, -mouth d] /ˈmi liˌmaʊθt, -ˌmaʊðd/
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 of mealy-mouthed
Related forms
[mee-lee-mou-thid-lee, -th id-, -moutht-, -mouth d-] /ˈmi liˌmaʊ θɪd li, -ðɪd-, -ˌmaʊθt-, -ˌmaʊðd-/ (Show IPA),
mealy-mouthedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mealy-mouthed
  • On many campuses, the third-year review is cursory and mealy-mouthed.
  • There is one strong upside, however: this mealy-mouthed statement leaves the door open for dialogue.
  • She was mealy-mouthed, awkward, clearly second string.
  • What you can't be these days is mealy-mouthed about it.
  • There is nothing mawkish or mealy-mouthed about his successor.
  • We lefties get banged over the head--rightly so--for, at times, being mealy-mouthed and soft-headed.
  • He didn't offer a careful, non-controversial mealy-mouthed defense of civil unions.
  • But all this came after days of mealy-mouthed denial and obfuscation.
  • Talk about a mealy-mouthed, tongue-twisting article that talks out of both sides of its mouth simultaneously.
  • Really what you got is mealy-mouthed rubbish, there.
British Dictionary definitions for mealy-mouthed


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

"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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