Posted by Bob on December 03, 2002
In Reply to: Stumm? posted by Word Camel 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.
: I've heard to keep stumm about something. Is there a relationship?
"Mum's the word" and "keep mum" are common enough in America, too. Not strictly British.