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Silver-tongued

  • Silver-tongued is an interesting idiom that dates back to the 1500s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the definition of the phrase silver-tongued, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Silver-tongued is a description of someone who expresses himself in a clever manner, someone who is well-spoken, someone who speaks eloquently. Synonyms of the idiom silver-tongued that may be found in a thesaurus are articulate, glib, well-spoken. The term silver-tongued has been in use since at least the 1590s, and comes from an obscure definition of the word silver. Silver may be used to describe something melodious and resonant, a reference to the pleasing sound of ringing silver. Many attribute the term silver-tongued to a description of a certain preacher who lived in England in the latter 1500s named Henry Smithe, also known as Silver Tongued Smith. However, there is a passage in the Old Testament of the Bible which may be the basis of this idiom. The pertinent passage in Proverbs 10:20: “The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little.” Someone may be described as being silver-tongued or as having a silver tongue, in which case there is no hyphen. The phrase silver-tongued devil is also popular, with the connotation that the person is being referred to is a little naughty, or a bit of a huckster, usually in an affectionate way.

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    Examples

    Esai Morales, who plays Lukrum’s Earth-based and silver-tongued CEO, explains that while science fuels exploration, commercial sustainability funds it. (The La Crosse Tribune)

    In a recent interview, actor Tom Felton — known for his infamous role as the silver-haired and silver-tongued Slytherin that is Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise — revealed his most absurd fan encounter to date, and it goes way beyond what you might think. (Teen Vogue Magazine)

    USA Today film critic Brian Truitt noted in his review that Depp’s “very appearance in these movies has been questioned by fans because of the actor’s offscreen controversies”, and specifically his messy split from wife Amber Heard, though he found Depp “proves a worthy bad guy with his Grindelwald, a silver-tongued, entrancing leader”. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

    Sure, charm, a silver tongue, and some significant smarts are also key—but Beto has each of these in spades. (Newsweek Magazine)

    Facebook’s previous emissary “was a silver-tongued devil” who “said nothing,” Republican Senator John Kennedy said on CNBC on Monday. (Reuters)


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