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[mouth-foo l] /ˈmaʊθˌfʊl/
noun, plural mouthfuls.
the amount a mouth can hold.
the amount taken into the mouth at one time.
a small quantity.
Informal. a spoken remark of great truth, relevance, effectiveness, etc.:
You said a mouthful!
a long word or group of words, especially one that is hard to pronounce.
Origin of mouthful
1375-1425; late Middle English. See mouth, -ful
Usage note
See -ful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mouthful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But now that she knows it, every mouthful that she eats of his bread is a sin.'

    John Caldigate Anthony Trollope
  • Can't you let other folks eat a mouthful before you have to have yours?

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • One attempted to get a mouthful of bird's breath, but was swallowed alive.

    Japanese Fairy World William Elliot Griffis
  • Roland spat out a mouthful of dust and swore beneath his breath.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • Claire René ate only a mouthful of her cooked roots on that evening.

British Dictionary definitions for mouthful


noun (pl) -fuls
as much as is held in the mouth at one time
a small quantity, as of food
a long word or phrase that is difficult to say
(Brit, informal) an abusive response
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) an impressive remark (esp in the phrase say a mouthful)
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 mouthful

1520s, "as much as a mouth can hold," from mouth (n.) + -ful. Meaning "a lot to say" is from 1748.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with mouthful


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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