Frog in the Throat – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

When someone says they have a frog in their throat, they mean that they can’t seem to find the words to say what they want because their throat is raspy. But where did this quirky phrase come from, and does it have a deeper meaning? Stay with me as we take a deep dive into its definition and origin and show you how to use it in sentences.

Meaning of Frog in Throat Phrase

Frog in the Throat – Idiom Meaning Origin

You don’t need to worry; having a frog in your throat doesn’t literally involve an amphibious creature setting up camp in your larynx. If that were the case, we’d all be hopping to the nearest hospital.

It’s a figure of speech used to describe a hoarse voice or an inability to speak due to a temporary obstruction or tightness in the throat. If your voice is croaky and you’re finding it hard to talk, you can simply say, “Excuse me, I seem to have a frog in my throat.”

When I first began public speaking about writing and publishing, I was so nervous my throat would run dry and phlegmy all at once, creating a froglike croak. This was the definition of having a frog in my throat. I eventually got over the throat troubles, thank goodness!

Origin and Etymology Behind Frog in My Throat

Frog in Your Throat Ngram
Frog in your throat usage trend.

The idiom frog in your throat, which can be traced back to the 19th century, likely comes from the croaking sound a person makes when they have a sore throat. It’s reminiscent of the noises our little green friends make. But don’t worry, the frog’s croak is worse than its bite!

Harvey Newcomb, an American clergyman, used the phrase back in 1847 in “How to Be Man”:

“Now let me beg of you to learn to say NO. If you find a ‘frog in your throat,’ which obstructs your utterance, go by yourself, and practise saying no, no, NO!”

Frog in Your Throat Synonyms

If you’re ever in need of a similar expression, here are a few options to mull over:

  • Hoarse voice
  • Dry throat
  • Scratchy throat
  • Tight throat
  • Husky voice
  • Throat obstruction

How to Use Frog in Throat: Examples in a Sentence

Frog in the Throat – Idiom Meaning Origin 1

  • I have a frog in my throat this morning; it must be the changing weather.
  • You sound like you have a frog in your throat. Are you coming down with a cold?
  • It seems like Jack has a frog in his throat. He’s been coughing all day.
  • She must have had a frog in her throat during the presentation. Her voice was a bit raspy.
  • They had frogs in their throats after cheering for their team at the football game.
  • We had frogs in our throats from talking non-stop at the book conference.
  • You might have a frog in your throat if you’ve been smoking.
  • My author bestie always gets a frog in her throat when she’s nervous about speaking in public.
  • I seem to get a frog in my throat whenever allergy season rolls around.
  • He had a frog in his throat, but he still managed to give an amazing performance tonight.

Frogs, Throats and Idiomatic Adventures

Who knew frogs could be so metaphorically versatile, right? It’s these kinds of fascinating idioms that make our language so much fun. So if your voice ever sounds a little hoarse, you’ll know exactly what to say: “I’ve got a frog in my throat!” Check out my other helpful guides to idioms right here on our site!