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11. take the words out of someone's mouth, to say exactly what another person was about to say.

[before 900; Middle English, Old English, c. Old Frisian, Old Saxon word, Old High German wort, Old Norse orth, Gothic waurd; akin to Latin verbum word, Lithuanian vardas name]


  1. Applying words like bandages —William Mcllvanney
  2. Words should be scattered like seed; no matter how small the seed may be, if it has once found favorable ground, it unfolds its strength —Seneca
  3. Words, like Nature, half reveal and half conceal the Soul within —Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  4. Her words still hung in the air between us like a whisp of tobacco smoke —Evelyn Waugh
  5. It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn —Robert Southey
  6. Words, like men, grow an individuality; their character changes with years and with use —Anon
  7. Words, like fine flowers, have their color too —Ernest Rhys
  8. Words, like clothes, get old-fashioned, or mean and ridiculous, when they have been for some time laid aside —William Hazlitt
  9. Words, like fashions, disappear and recur throughout English history —Virginia Graham
  10. The word seemed to linger in the air, to throb in the air like the note of a violin —Katherine Mansfield
  11. Her words at first seemed fitful like the talking of the trees —Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  12. (She spoke to them slowly,) dropping the words like ping pong balls —Helen Hudson
  13. Every word hanging like the sack of cement on a murdered body at the bottom of the river —Diane Wakoski
  14. Her words fell like rain on a waterproof umbrella; they made a noise, but they could not reach the head which they seemed destined to deluge —Frances Trollope
  15. His words were smoother than oil (and yet be they swords) —The Book of Common Prayer
  16. It is as easy to draw back a stone thrown from the hand, as to recall a word once spoken —Menander
  17. Like blood from a cut vein, words flowed —James Morrow
  18. My words slipped from me like broken weapons —Edith Wharton
  19. An old sentence … ran through her mind like a frightened mouse in a maze —Babs H. Deal
  20. The rest [words meant to remain unspoken] rolled out like string from a hidden ball of twine —Lynne Sharon Schwartz
  21. The sentence rang over and over again in his mind like a dirge —Margaret Millar
  22. Stiff as frozen rope words poke out —Marge Piercy
  23. They [a group at a party] flung them [words] like weapons, handled them like jewels, tossed them on air with reckless abandon as though they scattered confetti —Mary Hedin
  24. The word hissed like steam escaping from an overloaded pressure system —Ross Macdonald
  25. A word

    once spoken, like an arrow shot, can never be retracted —Anon

This simile was first used by Talmudic rabbis

  • Words as meaningless and wonderful as wind chimes —Sharon Sheehe Stark
  • The words came out like bullets —H. E. Bates
  • Words came out … tumbling like a litter of puppies from a kennel —F. van Wyck Mason
  • The words crumbled in his mouth like ashes —William Diehl
  • Words … danced in my mind like wild ponies that moved only to my command —Hortense Calisher
  • Words falling softly as rose petals —Mary Hedin
  • Words, frothy and toneless like a chain of bursting bubbles —L. P. Hartley
  • Words gushing and tumbling as if a hose had been turned on —Rose Tremain
  • Words gush like toothpaste —Margaret Atwood
  • The words [just spoken] hung like smoke in the air —Doris Grumbach
  • Words … like bits of cold wind —Mary Hedin
  • (She dealt her) words like blades —Emily Dickinson
  • Words, like butterflies, stagger from his lips —John Updike
  • Words, like glass, obscure when they do not aid vision —Joseph Joubet
  • Words … limp and clear like a jellyfish … hard and mean and secretive like a horned snail … austere and comical as top hats, or smooth and lively and flattering as ribbons —Alice Munro

    The narrator of Munro’s story, Spelling, contemplates the meaning of words while visiting an old woman.

  • The word spiralled through the silence like a worm in wood —Harris Downey
  • The words (out) of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords —The Holy Bible/Psalms
  • Words … plunked down with a click like chessmen —Yehuda Amichai
  • Words … poured wetly from her red lips as from a pitcher —Lynne Sharon Schwartz
  • The words rang in the silence like the sound of a great cash register —Kingsley Amis
  • Words ran together too quickly, like rapid water —Joanna Wojewski Higgins
  • Words roll around in Benna’s mouth [heroine of novel, Anagrams, by Lorrie Moore] like Life Savers on a tongue —Carol Hills, New York Times Book Review, November 2, 1986
  • Words that string and creep like insects —Conrad Aiken
  • Words … tumbling out and tripping over each other like mice —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
  • The words went by like flights of moths under the star-soaked sky —Adrienne Rich
  • Words … white and anonymous as a snowball —Donald McCaig
  • (If he once … let loose … the) words would come like a great flood, like vomiting —George Garrett
  • Your words to the end, hard as a pair of new cowboy boots —A. D. Winans


    Past participle: worded

    Category: Bank

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