keep a civil tongue in one's head

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keep a civil tongue in one's head

Speak politely, as in The teacher won't allow swearing; she says we must keep a civil tongue in our heads. This expression uses tongue in the sense of "a manner of speaking," a usage dating from the 1400s. An early cautionary version was "Keep a good tongue in your head, lest it hurt your teeth" (1595).
See also: civil, head, keep, tongue
References in classic literature ?
sez I; 'thin I'm O'Connell the Dictator, an' by this you will larn to kape a civil tongue in your rag-box.
It was a crestfallen gentleman who rode forth from the castle of Torn a half hour later and spurred rapidly his head a more civil tongue.
Keep a civil tongue in your head," cried the young man, his face paling in anger, at the insulting tone of the sailor.
But he was not a bad master--he had a monstrous civil tongue of his own, and a jolly, easy, coaxing way with him.
On which he replied, that he would do exactly as he liked, and would just thank her to keep a civil tongue in her head--and the wounded husband went away, and passed the forenoon at the billiard-room, sulky, silent, and suspicious.
But who wants leaders who can't be trusted to keep a civil tongue in their head when dealing with their own colleagues?
They might not have a penny to spare but they keep a civil tongue in their head when the children are around and try to moderate their own behaviour.
At the very least, let's keep a civil tongue in our heads, and remember the fellow human in front of us.
If anyone can not keep their wits and a civil tongue in their mouth, they don't deserve to represent Sturbridge," Ms.
Copies are going to local, state and federal politicians urging them, too, to keep a civil tongue.
A YOU tell your mum she's welcome to come for Christmas, but only if she keeps a civil tongue in her head and doesn't rile the other gran.
Otherwise, it's best to keep a civil tongue while discussing honest disagreements in practice.
Edwin Newman, the author of "A Civil Tongue," and "Strictly Speaking," has long been chastising such denigration of the English language.
All he had to do was keep a civil tongue in his head, and his hands off the student bodies and he'd get to maintain his status as the biggest, baddest Alpha male at Indiana University.
If Tone can rake in pounds 20,000 for a speech, an hour with the Queen should be good for pounds 100,000, with another pounds 50,000 if they throw in Phil as well - so long as he keeps a civil tongue in his head.