Is he a loudmouth, a bigmouth or a badmouth?

While he is somewhat of a bigmouth, he is not malicious. It is not done with bad intentions

March 27, 2023 08:30 am | Updated 10:16 am IST

Hi, come on in! You seem to have gone shopping early in the morning. Any of those packets for me?”

“Sorry, no! Met Sujatha and her boss for breakfast this morning, and she…”

“Oh, yes! She was telling me about it yesterday. How is her new boss? Is he like the old one?”

“They’re poles apart. The new one is a loudmouth. Got a terrible headache talking to him.”

“Loudmouth? Does it mean someone who is in the habit of speaking rather loudly?”

“That’s just part of the meaning. In addition to talking loudly, a loudmouth also brags about his achievements.”

“In other words, he’s a very annoying person to talk to.”

“I guess you could say that. He’s rather tactless, and as a result, at times, sounds rather rude. Many of the things that he has to say are just plain silly. I’ve always made it a point to avoid loudmouths.”

“It’s not always possible to avoid them, I’m afraid. Based on my experience, every family has its share of loudmouths.

“That’s true! You just have to suffer them. There are several loudmouths in my office.”

“Tell me, is there a difference between a ‘loudmouth’ and a ‘bigmouth’? Or do they have the same meaning?”

“Well, according to some dictionaries, ‘loudmouth’ and ‘bigmouth’ mean the same thing. Someone who talks loudly about insignificant matters can be called a ‘loudmouth’ or a ‘bigmouth’. Careful users of the language, however, maintain a distinction between the two. A ‘bigmouth’ is someone who talks a lot, and very often about things that he shouldn’t be. The word can be written as two words or one.”

“In other words, a ‘bigmouth’ is someone who cannot keep secrets. He lets the cat out of the bag.”

“Very good! A bigmouth is a bit of a gossip, and in his excitement to share interesting bits of news with others, he lets out or reveals secrets. Here’s an example. Don’t tell Hari about the surprise party we’ve planned for Shekar. He’s a bigmouth, and just might…”

“Open his big mouth and tell Shekar everything.”

“That’s true. The Minister is keen on finding out who the bigmouth is who’s been leaking information to the press.”

“Tell me, does ‘badmouth’ mean the same thing as ‘loudmouth’.”

“No, it has a very different meaning. When you ‘badmouth’ someone, you speak ill of them. You do not say anything nice about them.”

“Sounds like a few people I know. They have nothing nice to say about others.”

“The word ‘badmouth’ is mostly used as a verb in informal contexts. As I said, when you ‘badmouth’ someone, you speak ill of them — that too, behind their back. My neighbour badmouths politicians all the time.”

“What does one gain by badmouthing others? How about this example? Ever since the Manager denied her the loan, Meenakshi has been badmouthing him.”

“That’s to be expected, I guess. The good thing about my current boss is that he never badmouths anyone.”

“I guess he’s not a loudmouth either.”

“He certainly isn’t!”

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