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  1. #1
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    Default chewing your words

    Dear visitors of ESL forum,

    I'm trying to figure out the meaning of the saying 'chewing your words'. Is it something like carefully choosing your words, or does it have something to do with not saying everything you think?

    Thank you,
    Coenraedt

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    Hello Coenraedt

    I haven't heard this phrase before; but to judge by the examples on Google, there are three possible meanings:

    1. To reflect carefully upon your words before you speak.
    2. To mumble.
    3. To accept that something you have said is incorrect (= variant of "eat your words").

    Have you found a particular example of the phrase?

    All the best,

    MrP

  3. #3
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    I think that the third variant of MrPedantic is the most suitable but this is only an assumption as I haven't found it in any important dictionary!

    chewing your words=eat your words

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    Quote Originally Posted by Coenraedt View Post
    Dear visitors of ESL forum,

    I'm trying to figure out the meaning of the saying 'chewing your words'. Is it something like carefully choosing your words, or does it have something to do with not saying everything you think?

    Thank you,
    Coenraedt

    I did wonder if this phrase was in fact "chewing over your words" - considering what you have said carefully.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    My guess is MrP's #2 - to pronounce indistictly.

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    I'd guess at MrP's #3 - but not just 'eating your words'; finding it difficult to do. Talking indistinctly, though (on the analogy of 'swallowing your words' - which is an idiom), is quite possible.

    b

  7. #7
    paux is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    I think it may mean you want to say something, maybe something impolite, and you are holding your tongue.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    Quote Originally Posted by paux View Post
    I think it may mean you want to say something, maybe something impolite, and you are holding your tongue.
    There is already an expression for that - 'to bite your tongue' [it doesn't apply to your whole context specifically, but just to the situation of wanting to say something and not saying it].

    When he said that, I had to bite my tongue. He's such a hypocrite.

    b

  9. #9
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    Default Re: chewing your words

    Dear MrP, Mad-ox, Humble, Anglika, BobK en Paux,

    I found out that the frase was actuallly 'chew upon your words'. The context is: a conversation between two women, one of them is about to tell a painful story of the past "And yet it came . . . ", but then she suddenly stops. The second woman asks: "What came? . . . Why do you chew upon your words? . . . What came?."
    Given this context I think I'll go for MrP's first variant and paux.
    Thank you all very much for your replies!

    Kind regards,
    Coenraedt

  10. #10
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    David Sims is offline Newbie
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    Default English idiom "Chewing Your Words" reprise thread

    The phrase "chewing your words" means supplying exaggerated enunciation while speaking, usually to provide a subtext, or to convey a secondary message. For example, someone might imply, by chewing her words, that someone else is a stupid person who needs more than the customary degree of verbal articulation in order to ensure comprehension.

    A literary example of the use of the idiom can be found in the fantasy novel Suldrun's Garden, by Jack Vance.

    Dame Maugelin returned to the room, panting in haste and excitement. "Your father commands you to the banquet. He wishes you to be everything a beautiful princess of Lyonesse should be. Do you hear? You may wear your blue velvet gown and your moonstones. At all times remember court etiquette! Don't spill your food; drink very little wine. Speak only when you are addressed, then respond with courtesy and without chewing your words. Neither titter, nor scratch yourself, nor wriggle in your chair as if your bottom itched. Do not belch, gurgle, or gulp. If someone breaks wind, do not stare or point or attempt to place the blame. Naturally you will control yourself as well; nothing is more conspicuous than a farting princess. Come! I must brush your hair."

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