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mutter (something) under (one's) breath
To murmur something in such a soft, quiet voice that others cannot hear it distinctly. (Said especially of rude, unpleasant, complaining, or impertinent remarks.) I could hear Bill muttering something under his breath on the way back to his desk after his annual review. Don't you dare mutter curse words under your breath at me, young lady!
mutter about (someone or something)
1. To speak or utter something about someone or something in a very low, indistinct tone. Oh, don't mind me, I'm just muttering to myself about what's the fastest way to get home from here. I could hear the kids muttering something about a plan to cut school that day, but I couldn't make out the details of it.
2. To murmur, whisper, or grumble in an angry, disgruntled manner about someone or something. We all left the meeting muttering about the additional hours we'd have to work, but, in the end, what choice did we have? Instead of just muttering about the boss like you always do, why don't you register a complaint with HR?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
mutter about someone or something
to grumble or complain about someone or something. Are you muttering about me? What is your complaint? Why is everyone muttering about the food here? It is excellent.
mutter something about someone or something
to say something softly and indistinctly about someone or something. I heard him mutter something about being late. Sharon is muttering something about Dave. What does she mean?
*under one's breath
Fig. [spoken] so softly that almost no one can hear it. (*Typically: curse ~; curse some-one or something ~; mutter ~; mutter something ~; say something ~.) John was muttering something under his breath, and I don't think it was very pleasant. I'm glad he said it under his breath. If he had said it out loud, it would have caused an argument.
See also: breath
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.