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Down in the mouth

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  • Down in the mouth is an idiom that has been in use since the mid-seventeenth century. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase down in the mouth, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Down in the mouth describes the state of feeling sad, depressed, discouraged or glum. The phrase down in the mouth first appeared in the mid-1600s, and simply refers to the fact that people who are unhappy are usually depicted with a frown, a facial expression that involves a downturn at the corners of the mouth. The phrase is sometimes rendered as down at the mouth. When used as an adjective before a noun, the phrase is hyphenated as in down-in-the-mouth.

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    Examples

    “My boyfriend had given me £1,000 for my birthday and though I wasn’t ungrateful, I wished he’d bought a meaningful present like my favourite perfume so I was a bit down in the mouth.” (The Sun)

    Finally, BNZ is “not down in the mouth about today’s reported 0.5 per cent expansion in March quarter GDP” and there was “nothing to perturb our expectation of next quarter’s (Q2) GDP growth, which remains at 0.8 per cent”. (The New Zealand Herald)

    We first meet her, amid thundering electric power chords and smashing LED lighting displays, spreading fortitude and cheer amid a strapping all-male chorus who have been down in the mouth under the yoke of the English. (The New York Times)

    Sure, I have my share of down-in-the-mouth moments, but overall I keep on the sunny side of life. (Multiple Sclerosis News Today)

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