A Mouthful

Meaning of Idiom ‘A Mouthful’

A mouthful refers to words or names that are long and difficult to say or pronounce. 1Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.,2Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.

Usage

This idiom may be confused with say a mouthful,¬†which has a different meaning. The expression ‘you said a mouthful’ generally used to express agreement or acknowledgment of the importance of a statement, is different than the expression ‘that’s a mouthful,’ which refers to a long and difficult to pronounce word or name.

Also, compare the British idiom give someone a mouthful.

Examples Of Use

“Mary is going to hyphenate her name when she gets married. It will be Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Henderson. What a mouthful!”

“There’s a 1000 foot hill in New Zealand called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. That’s quite a mouthful, so they just called it Taumata for short.”

Origin

The idiom alludes figuratively to having one’s mouth full of food.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.
2. Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.