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Re: The origin and meaning of "mUm's the word"

Posted by TheFallen on December 03, 2002

In Reply to: The origin and meaning of "mom's the word" posted by ThisGuy on December 03, 2002

: Can anyone let me know the origin and meaning of the phrase "mom's the word"?

"Mum's the word" is British slang meaning "I won't say anything about the subject" or "I'll keep silent on that issue". There's another now old-fashioned British expression, using mum in the exact same way - namely, keeping mum, meaning to keep silent. This was a popular phrase during the 2nd World War, as you'll see.

Mum in this sense is apparently of Middle English origin, with speculation that it's imitative, perhaps of closing one's lips.