November 23, 2005

put one’s foot in one’s mouth

Posted in Idioms at 1:21 am by Feng

An Australian minister recently made a remark that many new security measures used in Australian airplanes were ineffectively, for example, changing steel forks into plastic cutlery only makes passengers feel better but doesn’t make an airplane any safer. However, she was strongly criticized by other ministers. One said “she once again put her foot in her mouth“. From the security perspective, I agree with her. But here we only discuss the language.

Put one’s foot in one’s mouth — Say something very wrong. Note not feet.



  1. Someone near said,

    I don’t think it means “Say something very wrong”. It could be very right (like in this case) but may have undesired consequences or complications.

  2. Feng said,

    I think this is the literal meaning of the phrase, which is what that minister wanted to express. A more formal explanation is found here

    This idiom is used to describe when a person says the wrong thing at the wrong time. We often use this idiom if we say something stupid in front of other people, especially if it is something embarrassing and inappropriate. We can also use it to describe when someone else makes this kind of mistake.

    Example sentences:

    1. I put my foot in my mouth.
    2. She really put her foot in her mouth.
    3. Why do you always put your foot in your mouth?

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