Mouth-watering


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Mouth watering'?

Delicious; tasty enough to make you salivate.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Mouth watering'?

The term mouth-watering has been used since the late 18th century to describe people whose mouth was salivating at the thought of food. The earliest citation that I can find of it describing appetizing food itself is from the mid 19th century, in the US fine arts journal The Southern Literary Messenger, 1847:

“He talks in an unctious mouth-watering way of British oysters and Falernian wine.”

Mars, the manufacturers of the fruit sweets Opal Fruits alluded to the phrase in their advertising jingle for the product ‘Opal Fruits: made to make your mouth water‘. The sweets are sold in the USA as Starburst and, since 1998, they were renamed as that in their original market of the UK and Ireland

Trend of mouth – watering in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.