The expression “butter i will not ~ melt in his mouth” is just one of the many misunderstood phrases in the English language. Some people think the is provided to typical that a human being is sweet and innocent whilst others space adamant the it way that a human being is a manipulator or a liar. It appears a little surprising to uncover one expression with together polar opposite interpretations. So which is it? and what’s it got to perform with butter melting? those the story behind the idiom “butter i will not ~ melt in her mouth”?

The original an interpretation of the expression “butter i will not ~ melt in your mouth”

Originally, roughly 1530, the phrase was far less obscure 보다 it may seem today, due to the fact that when it very first started gift used, that was directly related come a person having actually a cold, detached and also emotionless manner (where “cold” supplied in this means is an older an allegory itself). The idea was the a person was for this reason cold that his mouth was at a temperature at which butter i will not ~ melt.

You are watching: Butter wouldn t melt in his mouth

Evolution of the phrase

Throughout time the phrase “butter i will not ~ melt in his mouth” evolved.
indigenous cold and also detached, it became used to refer to civilization who were prim and also proper, that acted by society’s rules regardless the their very own feelings about any situation. (This neglect for their feelings is whereby the cold, emotionless next of the expression came into the equation). For the purpose of law the socially-determined “right” thing, girl may have actually pretended to it is in modest and shy, or high society men and women may have actually pretended to it is in interested in politics or theatre or whatever society deemed together the “proper” points to it is in interested in.

This is wherein the confusion of this phrase began:

The meaning of the phrase started to branch in two directions:

Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth meaning “liar”:Some people started associating the expression with phony human being in society who were putting on an act come fit in and also be viewed favorably. Lock lied about their true feelings and also were as such seen as insincere, liars or manipulators.


Butter i will not ~ melt in his mouth definition “sweet and innocent”:Other civilization focused top top the “prim and proper” nature the was a result of ignoring an individual feelings because that the services of fulfilling society’s expectations. Throughout lot of history, it to be the prim and also proper thing, especially among young ladies, to appear sweet and also innocent; thus this new definition became attached come the “butter i will not ~ melt in her mouth” phrase.When provided in this sense however, there is often a negative twist on the phrase. When offered to describe someone together sweet and innocent, it is nearly always adhered to by a “but”.A good example the this can be watched in william Makepeace Thackeray’s Pendennis (1850): “When a visitor come in, she smiles and also languishes, you’d think the butter i will not ~ melt in she mouth: <BUT> the minute the is gone, an extremely likely, she flares up favor a tiny demon, and also says points fit come send friend wild”.Over time, some people have forget the “but” and have started associating the phrase with actual sweet innocence, even though this isn’t the strict correct usage of the original phrase.In essence, both that these definitions have some fact to them, yet both meanings only tell part of the whole story. The complete story is that “butter i will not ~ melt in her mouth” only if you are at part level acting in a method which is cold and also detached from your true emotions.

Other write-ups you may enjoy:Check out our various other etymology short articles including:- Why perform we to speak “eat her heart out”?- Why carry out we someone has “egg top top the face”?- Why perform we have the expression “in a nutshell”?- Why perform we say us tie the knot as soon as we obtain married?

Related Products


This entry to be posted in Etymology and tagged etymology. Bookmark the permalink.

See more: The Average Size For A 13 Year Old, Median Height, Genetics & More is a participant in the Amazon services LLC Associates Program, one affiliate proclaiming program designed to provide a means for sites to earn declaring fees through advertising and also linking come & As an Amazon Associate ns earn from qualifying purchases. This website is likewise an affiliate through Zazzle, and also Cafepress, and also runs adverts native Google Adsense. Therefore please keep in mind that clickable pictures and links on this site might contain affiliate links that help the website owner store this website running.