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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!
See also: breath, mutter

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?
See also: mutter

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.
See also: mutter

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?
See also: mutter

*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
References in periodicals archive ?
And yesterday's result against what was the league's second meanest defence will go far to silence the mutterers in the East End who regard Allardyce's tactics as against all that is holy at Upton Park.
Fortunately, the mutterers and hooters were in the minority, and many people waited patiently in various parts of the library, hoping they would get a glimpse of Warhol during the book signing.
But if there is more to it than that, the mutterers should put up or shut up.
The mutterers would not leave it alone and suddenly they had a champion Tour member Gary Evans stepped forward to articulate the feelings, so he claimed, of 98 per cent of the Tour players: Montgomerie had compromised the sanctity of the game and had been dealt with too softly by half.
Nigel Mutterers, vice chairman of ICE's Waste Management Board, said:``The general public need to be educated to allay their fears about the dangers of these facilities and understand that refusing them may lead to the much larger problem of millions of tonnes of rubbish with simply nowhere to go.
Using fast feet and the tactical guile of a chess grand master he outflanked the whisperers, mutterers and plotters.