Put words in someone’s mouth

Put words in someone’s mouth is an idiom that has been in use for hundreds of years. We will examine the meaning of the idiom put words in someone’s mouth, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To put words in someone’s mouth means to ascribe a quote or a sentiment to someone that is not truly theirs; to say that someone said something that he didn’t say; to say that someone believes something that he doesn’t believe. The phenomenon of putting words in someone’s mouth often happens in politics. It is a manner of distorting the truth. The expression to put words in someone’s mouth is often used in the negative: Don’t put words in my mouth, or I don’t want to put words in your mouth. The phrase put words in someone’s mouth is very old; it has been in use at least since the 1300s. Related phrases are puts words in someone’s mouth, putting words in someone’s mouth.

Examples

Asked Friday if he agreed the NFL’s response has been insufficient, Flores said, “Nobody’s going to put words in my mouth about how I feel about this, that or the other thing.” (The Palm Beach Post)

Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, who was quoted by Woodward, declared that the reporter “put words in my mouth I never said.” (The Week Magazine)

I’d never put words in his mouth, but I think at the time he knew he had more in him. (Rolling Stone Magazine)

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