phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

All mouth and no trousers

Posted by Lewis on March 03, 2003

In Reply to: Re: All mouth and trousers posted by TheFallen on March 03, 2003

: : : : can anyone tell me if this is correct?
: : : : all mouth and trousers

: : : Yes, that phrase is in Eric Partridge's book "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British" and is defined as "noisy and worthless stuff," applied to "a loud-mouthed, blustering fellow."

: : : It must be a British phrase. I haven't heard it here in the U.S.

: : ALL MOUTH AND TROUSERS - "adj. British. Blustering and boastful, showing off without having the qualities to justify it.There is a suggestion that this is a corruption of a more logical, but rarely heard expression, 'all mouth and no trousers'. meaning full of talk but deficient in the sexual area. A less racy version is 'all talk and no action'. ." From the "Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990).

: : On White Oak Mountain in W.Va., we called a boastful person a "blow George." In Texas, it is "all hat and no cattle."

: "All mouth and trousers" and "all mouth, no trousers" are both still used interchangeably in the UK today, both meaning as described by previous posters.

: Very similar expressions would be "blowhard" (archaic), "all talk, no action" or "he talks the talk but don't (sic)/can't walk the walk", which we've inherited from the US.

Means the same as "talks a good game" - i.e. likes to give the impression, but can't perform. The "no trousers" version implies lack of trouser furniture - no contents to trousers and the "mouth and trousers" version simply suggests that the bulge is only material with no meaty substance.
Whichever version you use, the meaning is the same : empty boasting.