It means trying to keep a heated or private conversation private in a place where there"s a risk that it may be heard, as Robusto suggested. Check this out: (one minute and 3 seconds).

You are watching: Talking out of both sides of your mouth meaning


I know that "talk out of both sides of your mouth" is a particular idiom used to explain the act of saying different things to different people about the same subject, so I have always associated this expression with the synonym "lying"...



Basically, it means saying one thing but meaning a different thing. For example if you were strong arming someone you could say something like "It"s in your best interest to comply." with it being understood that violence is implied without actually mentioning violence.


To "talk out of both sides of (your) mouth" is to tell different parties different things. This would be akin to lying.

To try to maintain contradictory positions or beliefs in an attempt to please the most people. "We all know that you"ve been talking out of both sides of your mouth about the merger, so please, just tell us the truth.Will there be layoffs or not?" "I don"t trust that candidate—he still hasn"t committed to a clear course of action and is always talking out of both sides of his mouth."


Highly active question. Earn 10 reputation (not counting the association bonus) in order to answer this question. The reputation requirement helps protect this question from spam and non-answer activity.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged phrases popular-refrains or ask your own question.

Is there an idiom that corresponds to the Hungarian expression "fall off the other side of the horse"?

See more: Where Does The Last Name Wells Come From, Wells Last Name Origin

site design / logo © 2021 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa. rev2021.12.22.41046

Your privacy

By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree Stack Exchange can store cookies on your device and disclose information in accordance with our Cookie Policy.