Bad mouth

Slang. to speak critically and often disloyally of; disparage:
Why do you bad-mouth your family so much?
Historical Examples

That what they call puttin’ bad mouth on them and she sho’ could do it.
Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves. Work Projects Administration

I had very pretty hair, my dear,” said Miss Matilda; “and not a bad mouth.
Cranford Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

It was not a bad mouth; her eyes were large, and it was merely large to match them.
The Daughter of the Storage William Dean Howells

One day he visited a child who was sick with a bad mouth, and touching the child’s mouth he said, “It will be well soon.”
The Christian Hall Caine

He was a heavy-shouldered man with a bad mouth—a greedy mouth, one would think—and mild eyes.
Roden’s Corner Henry Seton Merriman

Many horses will not attempt to run away except for the concurrence of a bad mouth along with an avenue of escape home.
On Horsemanship Xenophon

(transitive) (slang) to speak unfavourably about

“abuse someone verbally,” 1941, probably ultimately from noun phrase bad mouth (1835), in Black English, “a curse, spell,” translating an idiom found in African and West Indian languages. Related: Bad-mouthed; bad-mouthing.

noun phrase

: If you can’t say anything good, at least don’t be a bad mouth

verb phrase

To disparage; denigrate: He bad-mouthed everybody (1930s+)
Disparage or criticize unduly, malign, as in Why do you constantly bad mouth your colleagues? This term is believed to be of African origin, where the phrase bad mouth signifies a curse or evil spell. [ 1930s ]

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