mealy-mouthed

[mee-lee-moutht, -mouthd]
adjective
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:
1565–75

mealy-mouthedly [mee-lee-mou-thid-lee, -thid-, -moutht-, -mouthd-] , adverb
mealy-mouthedness, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mealy-mouthed
 
adj
hesitant or afraid to speak plainly; not outspoken
 
[C16: from mealy (in the sense: soft, soft-spoken)]
 
mealy-'mouthedness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mealy-mouthed
1570s, "afraid to say what one really thinks," probably from O.E. milisc "sweet," from P.Gmc. *meduz "honey" (see mead (1)), which suits the sense, but if the O.E. word did not survive long enough to be the source of this, perhaps the first element is from
meal (2) on notion of the "softness" of ground flour.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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