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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 ?
For Britney, 11, the worst part of her parents' fighting is when her mother badmouths her father.
Everyone badmouths The May Report, but everyone reads it.
If there were a true environmental recipe for How to Raise a Big Italian Opera Queen Designer-Director Who Reveres English-Speaking Nations and Badmouths Gay Rights, you could do no better then the nurturing offered Zeffirelli's young surrogate, Luca.
The people who come out the worst in the book are the White House chief of staff, Mack McLarty, who is portrayed as being weak and completely out of his depth; Paul Begala, the campaign strategist, who badmouths many of his associates when they aren't listening (but Woodward is); and David Boren, the senator from Oklahoma, one of several vacillating legislators who nearly killed Clinton's budget plan in 1993.
She goes to church two or three times a week and I've been told she's a living saint, but at home she badmouths everyone.