The Idiom Connection Idioms and Quizzes The Idiom Connection








Mouth and Teeth Idioms







Mouth and Teeth Idioms


acquire a taste for (something)

- to develop a liking for a particular food or drink or something else

Recently, my friend has acquired a taste for expensive neckties.

armed to the teeth

- fully armed, having many weapons

The robbers were armed to the teeth when they robbed the bank.

as scarce as hen's teeth

- very scarce, nonexistent

Cheap apartment rentals are as scarce as hen's teeth in the large city.

bad-mouth (someone or something)

- to say bad things about someone or something

The football player began to bad-mouth his coach.

a bigmouth

- a noisy or boastful or foolish talker

The man is a bigmouth. He is always talking about his plans.

bite off more than one can chew

- to try to do more than you can realistically do

I am trying not to bite off more than I can chew so that I will be able to finish my project.

bite one's tongue

- to try hard not to say something that you would like to say (often used when you want to criticize someone)

I always bite my tongue when I am talking with my aunt so that I do not say the wrong thing and make her angry.

bite (someone's) head off

- to speak to someone in an angry way

My friend bit my head off when I asked her a question.

a bitter pill to swallow

- an unpleasant fact that you must accept

It was a bitter pill to swallow when we lost the legal case.

born with a silver spoon in one`s mouth

- born to wealth and comfort, born rich

The boy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and he has never worked in his life.

button one`s lip

- to stop talking, to be quiet

"Please button your lip, so we can hear what the speaker is saying."

by the skin of one`s teeth

- by a narrow margin, barely

We were able to catch the train but only by the skin of our teeth.

by word of mouth

- by speaking rather than writing, orally, from person to person by speaking

I learned about the holiday from work by word of mouth.

cat gets one`s tongue

- one is not able to talk because of shyness

The cat got the woman's tongue and she was not able to say anything.

cause tongues to wag

- to give people something to gossip or talk about

The actions of our boss are causing tongues to wag.

chew (someone) out or chew out (someone)

- to scold someone

The girl began to chew her friend out in the supermarket.

chew the fat/rag

- to chat or talk informally with one's friends

I stopped to chew the fat with an old friend from high school.

clam up

- to close one's mouth, to shut up, to stop talking

The students clammed up when they saw the teacher.

cough (something) up or cough up (something)

- to be forced or pressured to give someone something (often information or money)

We asked our friend to cough up some money for the restaurant meal.
The man had to cough up some information for the police.

cut one's eyeteeth on (something)

- to have much experience with something, to have done something since one was very young

My cousin cut his eyeteeth on fixing computers and now he is a computer expert.

cut one's (own) throat

- to experience certain failure

The man cut his own throat when he suddenly quit his job.
The girl cut her throat when she began to fight with her coach.

down in the mouth

- depressed and unhappy

My friend looked down in the mouth after he finished work today.

down the hatch

- swallowed, down one's throat

The cough medicine went down the hatch of the little boy.

eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

- a system of punishment where you punish someone in the same way that they hurt you

The citizens wanted an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth when they learned about the child's murder.

fight (someone or something) tooth and nail

- to fight against someone or something with great energy

The citizens fought the government tooth and nail over the government plans to build the new highway.

find one's tongue

- to be able to talk, to find the ability to talk after not being able to talk for a short time

The man could not find his tongue when he was asked to speak at the meeting.

foam at the mouth

- to be very angry (a sick dog foams at the mouth)

The girl's father was so angry that he was almost foaming at the mouth.

force (something) down (someone's) throat

- to force someone to do or agree to something

I wish that my friend would not force her ideas down my throat.

give one's eye teeth (to do something) or (for something)

- to want to do something very much, to want something very much

The little boy would give his eye teeth to have a little puppy.

give (someone) a tongue-lashing

- to give someone a severe scolding

The mother gave her daughter a tongue-lashing when the daughter returned from school.

give voice to (something)

- to put something into words, to express something

The small organization gives voice to the concerns of poor people in the city.

gnash one's teeth

- to grind one's teeth

I often gnash my teeth when I am sleeping.
The man was so angry that he gnashed his teeth.

grit one's teeth

- to grind one's teeth together because of anger or stress or determination

I grit my teeth and began to clean up after the party.

guard one's tongue

- to be careful of what one says

I have to guard my tongue when I am speaking with my friend's parents.

have a big mouth

- to be a person who gossips or tells secrets

The woman has a big mouth and she can never keep a secret.

have a say/voice in (something)

- to have a part in making a decision

I want to have a say in the decision of whether or not we must work in the evenings.
The children had a voice in choosing their afternoon activity.

have a sweet tooth

- to like to eat sweet foods

The girl has a sweet tooth. She loves chocolate.

hold one`s tongue

- to be silent, to not talk

"Please hold your tongue," the teacher said to the young boy.

keep a civil tongue

- to speak decently and politely

I tried to keep a civil tongue during my argument with the store clerk.

keep a stiff upper lip

- to be brave, to face trouble bravely

We tried to keep a stiff upper lip when our company decided to close our office.

keep one`s mouth shut

- to be silent, to stay silent

I tried hard to keep my mouth shut during the speech.

laugh out of the other side of one's mouth

- to change from being happy to being sad

The woman was laughing out of the other side of her mouth when she learned that she would not be promoted.

leave a bad taste in one`s mouth

- to leave a bad feeling or memory with someone

The way that the company treated us left a bad taste in our mouth.

lick one's chops

- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something (by licking one's lips)

The salesman began to lick his chops when he saw the potential customers at the convention.

lick one's lips

- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something

The little boy began to lick his lips when he saw the candy in the window.

lie through one's teeth

- to lie in a bold manner

The man's story was impossible to believe. He was lying through his teeth.

like pulling teeth

- very difficult to do

It was like pulling teeth to try and get the boy to explain why he was crying.

(one's) lips are sealed

- someone will not tell a secret

My lips are sealed and I will not tell anybody the secret.

live from hand to mouth

- to live in poor circumstances, to have little money

The man has been living from hand to mouth for many years now.

long in the tooth

- old

The man was feeling long in the tooth and he did not have much energy.

loosen (someone's) tongue

- to make someone relax and say something that they normally would not say

I went to the coffee shop with my friend where I tried to loosen his tongue.

loudmouth

- a noisy or boastful or foolish talker

My friend is a loudmouth and he always makes plans but he never does anything about them.

lower one's voice

- to speak more softly

The teacher asked the student to lower his voice.

make one`s mouth water

- to make someone want to eat or drink something because of the thought or the smell of the food

The smell of the food cooking in the restaurant made my mouth water.

melt in one`s mouth

- to taste very good, to be very tender (used for meat)

The pasta served at the new restaurant melted in our mouths.

no skin off (someone's) teeth

- of no interest or concern or trouble to someone

It is no skin off my teeth whether my friend comes to the restaurant with us or not.

not open one's mouth

- to not say anything

The man in the movie theater was told not to open his mouth.

on everybody's lips

- many people are talking or thinking about the same thing

The scandal about the famous actress is on everybody's lips.

on the tip of one`s tongue

- to be almost able to remember something that you have forgotten

My former teacher's name is on the tip of my tongue.

out of the mouths of babes

- something that a child says shows that he or she understands more about a situation than you thought that they did

The little boy's statement was out of the mouths of babes. He knew everything that was happening.

pay lip service to (someone or something)

- to support someone or something by words but not by actions

The politician paid lip service to the proposal to build a new subway system but he did not really like the idea.

pull (someone's) tooth out or pull out (someone's) tooth

- to take someone's tooth out (usually done by a dentist)

I went to the dentist so he could pull my tooth out.

put one's foot in one's mouth

- to say something that is the wrong thing to say in a situation

I put my foot in my mouth and said that I did not like fish just before my friend served me fish for dinner.

put one's money where one's mouth is

- to stop always saying that you will do something but to actually do it

The man always talks about helping other people but he never does anything. He should put his money where his mouth is and do something.

put some teeth into (something)

- to increase the power of something

The government has put some teeth into the new law.

put the bite on (someone)

- to try to get money from someone

I will put the bite on my friend in order to get some money for the movie.

put the words into (someone`s) mouth

- to say or suggest something for someone else, to speak for someone else without his or her permission

My friend always wants to put the words into my mouth before I have a chance to speak.

put words in/into (someone`s) mouth

- to say or suggest something for someone else, to speak for someone else without his or her permission

The man always puts words into his wife's mouth which makes her angry.

ram (something) down (someone's) throat

- to force someone to do or agree to something that they do not want

The lawyer rammed the settlement down my throat even though I was not happy with it.

read my lips

- used to tell someone strongly that you have decided something and you will not change your mind

"Read my lips. I am not going to the meeting."

read (someone's) lips

- to look at the movements of someone's lips in order to understand what he or she is saying

The woman could not hear but she was able to read other people's lips.

run off at the mouth

- to talk excessively

The girl is always running off at the mouth when she is with her friends.

say a mouthful

- to say something of great importance, to say a lot

The little boy said a mouthful when he began to talk about his history project.

set one's teeth on edge

- to be unpleasant and to cause an uncomfortable feeling

The idea that we would have to move our office immediately set my teeth on edge.

set tongues wagging

- to cause people to start gossiping

The woman always sets tongues wagging at her office because of the things that she does.

a sharp tongue

- a way of talking or speaking to others that is unkind or bad or critical

The woman has a sharp tongue and she says very unkind things to other people.

shoot one's mouth off

- to talk too much, to boast, to tell someone's secrets

The young man began to shoot his mouth off at the supermarket.
My friend always shoots his mouth off so I do not like to tell him my business.

shove (something) down (someone`s) throat

- to force someone to do or agree to something that they do not want to do or agree with

I do not like my boss because he is always trying to shove his ideas down my throat.

show one's teeth

- to show one's anger or strength in order to warn someone not to argue or fight with you

Our supervisor showed his teeth when I began to argue with him about my job.

Shut your mouth!

- Please be quiet and close your mouth!

"Shut your mouth," the woman said to the man talking loudly in the library.

sink one`s teeth into (something)

- to have something real or solid to think about or struggle with, to take a bite from some kind of food

I was finally able to sink my teeth into the problem and find a solution.
I sank my teeth into the apple and took a bite.

a slip of the tongue

- something that is said at the wrong time and is not what you want to say

The clerk's comment to the customer was a slip of the tongue.

speak with a forked tongue

- to tell lies, to try to deceive someone

The man speaks with a forked tongue and you cannot believe what he says.

straight from the horse`s mouth

- directly from the person involved

I heard about my friend`s wedding straight from the horse`s mouth.

take the words out of (someone`s) mouth

- to say what someone else was just going to say

My friend took the words out of my mouth when he said that he wanted to get something to eat. I also wanted something to eat.

teething problems

- difficulties and problems experienced in the early stages of a project or activity

The new project has many teething problems that we must deal with.

throw one's voice

- to project one's voice so that it appears to be coming from some other place

The performer likes to throw his voice when he entertains children.

tongue in cheek

- jokingly, insincerely, mockingly, not really meaning something

The comment by our teacher was tongue in cheek and she did not mean it.

tooth and nail

- fiercely, as hard as possible (when fighting)

We fought tooth and nail to get our manager to change our schedule.

watch one's mouth

- to not say something, to not be rude

The girl has bad manners and should watch her mouth.

watch one's tongue

- to not say something, to not be rude

The boy was told by his teacher to watch his tongue.

zip one's lip

- to not talk, to not tell a secret

I told my friend to zip his lip and stop arguing with me.

Bite/Chew Idioms


bite off more than one can chew

- to try to do more than you can realistically do

I am trying not to bite off more than I can chew so that I will be able to finish my project.

bite one's tongue

- to try hard not to say something that you would like to say (often used when you want to criticize someone)

I always bite my tongue when I am talking with my aunt so that I do not say the wrong thing and make her angry.

bite (someone's) head off

- to speak to someone in an angry way

My friend bit my head off when I asked her a question.

chew (someone) out or chew out (someone)

- to scold someone

The girl began to chew her friend out in the supermarket.

chew the fat/rag

- to chat or talk informally with one's friends

I stopped to chew the fat with an old friend from high school.

put the bite on (someone)

- to try to get money from someone

I will put the bite on my friend in order to get some money for the movie.

Lip Idioms


button one`s lip

- to stop talking, to be quiet

"Please button your lip so we can hear what the speaker is saying."

keep a stiff upper lip

- to be brave, to face trouble bravely

We tried to keep a stiff upper lip when our company decided to close our office.

lick one's chops

- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something (by licking one's lips)

The salesman began to lick his chops when he saw the potential customers at the convention.

lick one's lips

- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something

The little boy began to lick his lips when he saw the candy in the window.

(one's) lips are sealed

- someone will not tell a secret

My lips are sealed and I will not tell anybody the secret.

on everybody's lips

- many people are talking or thinking about the same thing

The scandal about the famous actress is on everybody's lips.

pay lip service to (someone or something)

- to support someone or something by words but not by actions

The politician paid lip service to the proposal to build a new subway system but he did not really like the idea.

read my lips

- used to tell someone strongly that you have decided something and you will not change your mind

"Read my lips. I am not going to the meeting."

read (someone's) lips

- to look at the movements of someone's lips in order to understand what he or she is saying

The woman could not hear but she was able to read other people's lips.

zip one's lip

- to not talk, to not tell a secret

I told my friend to zip his lip and stop arguing with me.

Mouth Idioms


bad-mouth (someone or something)

- to say bad things about someone or something

The football player began to bad-mouth his coach.

a bigmouth

- a noisy or boastful or foolish talker

The man is a bigmouth. He is always talking about his plans.

by word of mouth

- by speaking rather than writing, orally, from person to person by speaking

I learned about the holiday from work by word of mouth.

born with a silver spoon in one`s mouth

- born to wealth and comfort, born rich

The boy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and he has never worked in his life.

down in the mouth

- depressed and unhappy

My friend looked down in the mouth after he finished work today.

foam at the mouth

- to be very angry (a sick dog foams at the mouth)

The girl's father was so angry that he was almost foaming at the mouth.

have a big mouth

- to be a person who gossips or tells secrets

The woman has a big mouth and she can never keep a secret.

keep one`s mouth shut

- to be silent, to stay silent

I tried hard to keep my mouth shut during the speech.

laugh out of the other side of one's mouth

- to change from being happy to being sad

The woman was laughing out of the other side of her mouth when she learned that she would not be promoted.

leave a bad taste in one`s mouth

- to leave a bad feeling or memory with someone

The way that the company treated us left a bad taste in our mouth.

live from hand to mouth

- to live in poor circumstances, to have little money

The man has been living from hand to mouth for many years now.

loudmouth

- a noisy or boastful or foolish talker

My friend is a loudmouth and he always makes plans but he never does anything about them.

make one`s mouth water

- to make someone want to eat or drink something because of the thought or the smell of the food

The smell of the food cooking in the restaurant made my mouth water.

melt in one`s mouth

- to taste very good, to be very tender (used for meat)

The pasta served at the new restaurant melted in our mouths.

not open one's mouth

- to not say anything

The man in the movie theater was told not to open his mouth.

out of the mouths of babes

- something that a child says shows that he or she understands more about a situation than you thought that they did

The little boy's statement was out of the mouths of babes. He knew everything that was happening.

put one's foot in one's mouth

- to say something that is the wrong thing to say in a situation

I put my foot in my mouth and said that I did not like fish just before my friend served me fish for dinner.

put one's money where one's mouth is

- to stop always saying that you will do something but to actually do it

The man always talks about helping other people but he never does anything. He should put his money where his mouth is and do something.

put the words into (someone`s) mouth

- to say or suggest something for someone else, to speak for someone else without his or her permission

My friend always wants to put the words into my mouth before I have a chance to speak.

put words in/into (someone`s) mouth

- to say or suggest something for someone else, to speak for someone else without his or her permission

The man always puts words into his wife's mouth which makes her angry.

run off at the mouth

- to talk excessively

The girl is always running off at the mouth when she is with her friends.

say a mouthful

- to say something of great importance, to say a lot

The little boy said a mouthful when he began to talk about his history project.

shoot one's mouth off

- to talk too much, to boast, to tell someone's secrets

The young man began to shoot his mouth off at the supermarket.
My friend always shoots his mouth off so I do not like to tell him my business.

Shut your mouth!

- Please be quiet and close your mouth!

"Shut your mouth," the woman said to the man talking loudly in the library.

straight from the horse`s mouth

- directly from the person involved

I heard about my friend`s wedding straight from the horse`s mouth.

take the words out of (someone`s) mouth

- to say what someone else was just going to say

My friend took the words out of my mouth when he said that he wanted to get something to eat. I also wanted something to eat.

watch one's mouth

- to not say something, to not be rude

The girl has bad manners and should watch her mouth.

Taste Idioms


acquire a taste for (something)

- to develop a liking for a particular food or drink or something else

Recently, my friend has acquired a taste for expensive neckties.

leave a bad taste in one`s mouth

- to leave a bad feeling or memory with someone

The way that the company treated us left a bad taste in our mouth.






Teeth Idioms


armed to the teeth

- fully armed, having many weapons

The robbers were armed to the teeth when they robbed the bank.

as scarce as hen's teeth

- very scarce, nonexistent

Cheap apartment rentals are as scarce as hen's teeth in the large city.

by the skin of one`s teeth

- by a narrow margin, barely

We were able to catch the train but only by the skin of our teeth.

cut one's eyeteeth on (something)

- to have much experience with something, to have done something since one was very young

My cousin cut his eyeteeth on fixing computers and now he is a computer expert.

eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

- a system of punishment where you punish someone in the same way that they hurt you

The citizens wanted an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth when they learned about the child's murder.

fight (someone or something) tooth and nail

- to fight against someone or something with great energy

The citizens fought the government tooth and nail over the government plans to build the new highway.

give one's eye teeth (to do something) or (for something)

- to want to do something very much, to want something very much

The little boy would give his eye teeth to have a little puppy.

gnash one's teeth

- to grind one's teeth

I often gnash my teeth when I am sleeping.
The man was so angry that he gnashed his teeth.

grit one's teeth

- to grind one's teeth together because of anger or stress or determination

I grit my teeth and began to clean up after the party.

have a sweet tooth

- to like to eat sweet foods

The girl has a sweet tooth. She loves chocolate.

lie through one's teeth

- to lie in a bold manner

The man's story was impossible to believe. He was lying through his teeth.

like pulling teeth

- very difficult to do

It was like pulling teeth to try and get the boy to explain why he was crying.

long in the tooth

- old

The man was feeling long in the tooth and he did not have much energy.

no skin off (someone's) teeth

- of no interest or concern or trouble to someone

It is no skin off my teeth whether my friend comes to the restaurant with us or not.

pull (someone's) tooth out or pull out (someone's) tooth

- to take someone's tooth out (usually done by a dentist)

I went to the dentist so he could pull my tooth out.

put some teeth into (something)

- to increase the power of something

The government has put some teeth into the new law.

set one's teeth on edge

- to be unpleasant and to cause an uncomfortable feeling

The idea that we would have to move our office immediately set my teeth on edge.

show one's teeth

- to show one's anger or strength in order to warn someone not to argue or fight with you

Our supervisor showed his teeth when I began to argue with him about my job.

sink one`s teeth into (something)

- to have something real or solid to think about or struggle with, to take a bite from some kind of food

I was finally able to sink my teeth into the problem and find a solution.
I sank my teeth into the apple and took a bite.

teething problems

- difficulties and problems experienced in the early stages of a project or activity

The new project has many teething problems that we must deal with.

tooth and nail

- fiercely, as hard as possible (when fighting)

We fought tooth and nail to get our manager to change our schedule.

Throat Idioms


cut one's (own) throat

- to experience certain failure

The man cut his own throat when he suddenly quit his job.
The girl cut her throat when she began to fight with her coach.

down the hatch

- swallowed, down one's throat

The cough medicine went down the hatch of the little boy.

force (something) down (someone's) throat

- to force someone to do or agree to something

I wish that my friend would not force her ideas down my throat.

ram (something) down (someone's) throat

- to force someone to do or agree to something that they do not want

The lawyer rammed the settlement down my throat even though I was not happy with it.

shove (something) down (someone`s) throat

- to force someone to do or agree to something that they do not want to do or agree with

I do not like my boss because he is always trying to shove his ideas down my throat.

Tongue Idioms


bite one's tongue

- to try hard not to say something that you would like to say (often used when you want to criticize someone)

I always bite my tongue when I am talking with my aunt so that I do not say the wrong thing and make her angry.

cat gets one`s tongue

- one is not able to talk because of shyness

The cat got the woman's tongue and she was not able to say anything.

cause tongues to wag

- to give people something to gossip or talk about

The actions of our boss are causing tongues to wag.

find one's tongue

- to be able to talk, to find the ability to talk after not being able to talk for a short time

The man could not find his tongue when he was asked to speak at the meeting.

give (someone) a tongue-lashing

- to give someone a severe scolding

The mother gave her daughter a tongue-lashing when the daughter returned from school.

guard one's tongue

- to be careful of what one says

I have to guard my tongue when I am speaking with my friend's parents.

hold one`s tongue

- to be silent, to not talk

"Please hold your tongue," the teacher said to the young boy.

keep a civil tongue

- to speak decently and politely

I tried to keep a civil tongue during my argument with the store clerk.

loosen (someone's) tongue

- to make someone relax and say something that they normally would not say

I went to the coffee shop with my friend where I tried to loosen his tongue.

on the tip of one`s tongue

- to be almost able to remember something that you have forgotten

My former teacher's name is on the tip of my tongue.

set tongues wagging

- to cause people to start gossiping

The woman always sets tongues wagging at her office because of the things that she does.

a sharp tongue

- a way of talking or speaking to others that is unkind or bad or critical

The woman has a sharp tongue and she says very unkind things to other people.

a slip of the tongue

- something that is said at the wrong time and is not what you want to say

The clerk's comment to the customer was a slip of the tongue.

speak with a forked tongue

- to tell lies, to try to deceive someone

The man speaks with a forked tongue and you cannot believe what he says.

tongue in cheek

- jokingly, insincerely, mockingly, not really meaning something

The comment by our teacher was tongue in cheek and she did not mean it.

watch one's tongue

- to not say something, to not be rude

The boy was told by his teacher to watch his tongue.

Voice Idioms


give voice to (something)

- to put something into words, to express something

The small organization gives voice to the concerns of poor people in the city.

have a say/voice in (something)

- to have a part in making a decision

I want to have a say in the decision of whether or not we must work in the evenings.

lower one's voice

- to speak more softly

The teacher asked the student to lower his voice.

throw one's voice

- to project one's voice so that it appears to be coming from some other place

The performer likes to throw his voice when he entertains children.

Idiom Quizzes - Mouth and Teeth

    Choose an idiom to replace the expression in the brackets:

  1. The platter of food in the front window (made me want to eat it).

    (a) put my foot in my mouth (b) melted in my mouth (c) said a mouthful (d) made my mouth water



  2. My uncle (faced his problems bravely) when the bank tried to close his business.

    (a) kept a stiff upper lip (b) spoke with a forked tongue (c) shot his mouth off (d) buttoned his lip



  3. The name of the new book was (at the point that I could almost remember) but I could not remember it.

    (a) by the skin of my teeth (b) as scarce as hen's teeth (c) on the tip of my tongue (d) holding my tongue



  4. The teacher told the children to (stop talking).

    (a) button their lips (b) melt in their mouths (c) leave a bad taste in their mouths (d) say a mouthful



  5. I was able to get to the train (just barely).

    (a) by the skin of my teeth (b) foaming at the mouth (c) down in the mouth (d) tongue in cheek



  6. I heard about the new store (from my friends).

    (a) by word of mouth (b) down in the mouth (c) gritting my teeth (d) living from hand to mouth



  7. The man was angry and (talked a lot) about the broken furnace.

    (a) rammed everything down our throats (b) put his foot in his mouth (c) ran off at the mouth (d) put words in our mouths



  8. I had a difficult time to (begin to talk) at the meeting.

    (a) find my tongue (b) lick my chops (c) run off at the mouth (d) zip my lip



  9. The mayor gave (his support) to the new proposal but he did not really like it.

    (a) lip service (b) word of mouth (c) teething problems (d) a bitter pill to swallow



  10. I had to (keep silent) although I disagreed with everything that the man said.

    (a) show my teeth (b) loosen my tongue (c) throw my voice (d) hold my tongue



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