read (one's) lips

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read (one's) lips

1. Literally, to interpret and understand what one says by observing the shapes of the words they form with their lips. Even though I was speaking very softly, Jill could read my lips and knew exactly what I was saying. I can read your lips, but it will help me if you use sign language as well.
2. To pay close attention and listen very carefully to what one says. Usually said as an imperative. A: "Come on, Mom—can I please go out with my friends?" B: "Read my lips—N O means no!" Read my lips—finish your dinner now, or you won't be getting any dessert!
See also: lip, read

read my lips

slang Listen closely to what I'm going to say, because I am going to be very clear. A: "Come on, Mom—can I please go out with my friends?" B: "Read my lips—no!"
See also: lip, read

read someone's lips

to manage to understand speech by watching and interpreting the movements of the speaker's lips. I couldn't hear her but I could read her lips.
See also: lip, read

read my lips

If you say read my lips, you mean that what you are saying is definitely the truth and people should believe and trust you. I said,`No way, read my lips, there is no way I'm going to sign this.'
See also: lip, read

read my lips

listen carefully (used to emphasize the importance of the speaker's words or the earnestness of their intent). North American informal
This expression was most famously used by the US Republican president George Bush in an election campaign pledge in 1988 : ‘Read my lips: no new taxes’.
See also: lip, read

ˌread my ˈlips

(spoken) used to tell somebody to listen carefully to what you are saying: Read my lips: no new taxes (= I promise there will be no new taxes).
See also: lip, read

read my lips

Listen to what I’m saying because I really mean it. This expression actually has no relation to the lip-reading done by deaf persons who try to make out what is being said from the movement of a person’s mouth. It dates from the mid-1900s. In 1978 it was used as the title of an album of songs by British actor and singer Tim Curry, who in turn picked up the phrase from an Italian-American recording engineer. But it was popularized by George H. W. Bush in his acceptance speech for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination: “Congress will push me to raise taxes. . . . And I’ll say to them, ‘Read my lips. No new taxes.’” It continued to be widely used in politics, sports, and indeed any venue where someone wanted to make an emphatic statement. It is well on its way to clichédom.
See also: lip, read