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1. verb To speak negatively or unflatteringly about someone or something. Why are you always bad-mouthing Tiffany? You don't even know her that well!
2. noun One who says negative or unflattering things about someone or something. He's a real bad-mouth, so don't listen to anything he says about me!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

bad-mouth someone or something

to say negative things about someone or something. Mr. Smith was always bad-mouthing Mrs. Smith. They just didn't get along. John bad-mouths his car constantly because it is too small for him.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bad mouth

Disparage or criticize unduly, malign, as in Why do you constantly bad mouth your colleagues? This term is believed to be of African origin, where the phrase bad mouth signifies a curse or evil spell. [1930s]
See also: bad, mouth
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. tv. to speak ill of someone or something. (see also dirty mouth, poor-mouth.) I wish you would stop bad-mouthing my car.
2. n. someone who speaks ill of someone or something. Harry is such a bad-mouth!
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Maybe your friend is bad-mouthing the school as it hasn't been good for her son.
He said the investors in Sahiwal Coal Power Project started 'bad-mouthing' about Pakistan over non-payment of about Rs16bn.
The post Our View: Bad-mouthing UN envoys is seen as a national duty appeared first on Cyprus Mail .
Here are some sporting heroes we can rely on - you won't catch these canine flyers bad-mouthing their opponents in press conferences, disobeying team orders or swanning off to Dubai as part of a "pre-planned training programme".
Speaking the following day at V Festival the NDubz singer explained why she decided to respond to Sir Alan's comments: "He was bad-mouthing me since last year, so when I saw it again I just thought, you know what I'm going to say something as he deserves it."
THE BRFC ACTION GROUP Steve Kean was filmed bad-mouthing his predecessor in a bar by Rovers fans and the footage was leaked by a group desperate to get the Scot the sack.
"Senior Labour politicians bad-mouthing him but having no courage to put their name to their comments is lacking in dignity.
Strongly berating the negative trend of bad-mouthing representatives of masses, he said that this negative trend was against the reconciliation policy of government, and said that this negative trend of PML-N, only verified the claim of opponents of Mian Nawaz Sharif that he as empty-headed (imprudent).
But Becker seems to be more interested in explaining why those German players are so darn refined than in bad-mouthing their sexual choices.
THE bad-mouthing of the winners by the losers is becoming tiresome.
Mr Blunkett spoke of at least one "terrible row" they had, of an occasion when the Deputy Prime Minister looked at him with "hatred and bitterness" and how, he claimed, Mr Prescott was "bad-mouthing me behind the scenes".
They might go from applauding Bill C-38 or same sex "marriage" to bad-mouthing pro-life; to allowing some couples to live together without marriage; even to minimize or totally ignore the state of grace essential to receive Holy Communion; and to openly promote women's ordinations, in spite of that subject having been closed lately by the Vicar of Christ.
"I don't think Scott reads these things and doesn't get affected by anybody bad-mouthing him."
Nowadays, of course, you drop down into Melbourne (after 24 hours of sitting still) and within an hour or two you've abandoned the guidebook and you're sampling Victorian shiraz along with the usual cronies, eavesdropping that special bad-mouthing that marks the chat in any city with pretensions to architectural quality.
A good rule is to discount bad-mouthing as if it never happened, particularly when there are no specifics.