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Dust in the mouth

Posted by Ofra on March 07, 2004

In Reply to: Dust in the mouth posted by Henry on March 07, 2004

: : does anybody know this phrase and its meaning?
: : thank you!

: I'm not familiar with this as a phrase. It does of course have a literal meaning. This would usually indicate that the person needs a drink. In Westerns, where Indians were routinely portrayed as the bad guys, Indians were said to bite the dust when they were shot and fell to the ground.

: thank you! maybe I should have given more context. I have it as a phrase in a book about Africa (the writer himself is Irish though)
and here is the whole sentence: "He was undoubtedly one of the wealthiest men in the country, if not the wealthiest, but amongst the Batswana this counted for little, as none of the money had gone into cattle, and money which was not invested in cattle, as everybody knew, was but *dust in the mouth*.
I can understand of course the general idea, but would like to know if it is a known phrase or maybe only local in Africa or invented by the author.
thank you.