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Posted by ESC on October 03, 2006

In Reply to: DOWN IN THE MOUTH posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 03, 2006

: : Hi, I recently had a salivary gland infection, the left side of my face was swollen (and very painful)my son took a photo of me!!! I sent it to my friend, she wrote back..."it brings a whole new meaning to DOWN IN THE MOUTH" My question is where did the saying come from, I thought perhaps it's an old English saying, when people had their teeth pulled by, perhaps the barber??? There would have been a lot of people with abscesses in the old days. Does anyone know if this is the correct definition of the saying. Many Thanks Eileen

: I have always assumed it simply refers to the way the corners of the mouth turn down when one feels glum (and "down in the mouth" does mean "depressed"; it certainly doesn't mean refer to pain of any kind).

"Down in your back" means having back problems.

DOWN IN THE MOUTH - "Glum; dispirited. It's the way one looks when the corners of one's mouth are turned down in disheartenment or disappointment. Bishop Joseph Hall used in in 1649 in one of his many works." From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985). Page 70.