Have you ever heard the saying “mum’s the word”? It’s a common phrase used in everyday language, but what does it actually mean?
This saying has a rich history and has evolved over time to become a common way of saying “keep quiet” or “don’t speak about it.”
In this article, we will explore the origins of the phrase “mum’s the word” and delve into its various meanings and uses.
The Origins of “Mum’s the Word”
The saying “mum’s the word” likely originated in the 16th century and has roots in the Old English word “mum,” which means “silent.”
It’s thought that the phrase first appeared in print in the 1570s and was used as a way of telling someone to be quiet or to keep a secret.
Over time, the phrase has evolved and taken on different meanings. In the 19th century, it was often used to indicate that someone was unwilling to talk about something or disclose information.
This use of the phrase can be seen in a quote from Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers,” in which a character says “mum’s the word” to mean “I won’t tell anyone.”
Modern Uses of “Mum’s the Word”
Today, the phrase “mum’s the word” is still commonly used to indicate that someone is keeping quiet about something or not disclosing information.
It’s often used in a playful or lighthearted way to imply that something is a secret or that someone is being secretive.
In addition to its use as a way of keeping quiet, the phrase “mum’s the word” can also be used as a way of indicating that something is not up for discussion or debate.
For example, if someone says “mum’s the word” in response to a question, it could mean that they are not willing to talk about the topic any further.
The Future of “Mum’s the Word”
Despite its long history, the phrase “mum’s the word” is still commonly used in modern language.
This saying will likely continue to evolve and take on new meanings in the future. However, its core meaning of keeping quiet or not disclosing information is likely to remain unchanged.
“Mum’s the word” is a phrase with a rich history and various meanings. It has evolved over time from a way of telling someone to be quiet to a way of indicating that something is a secret or not up for discussion.
While it’s likely to continue to evolve, the phrase “mum’s the word” is still commonly used in modern language and is likely to remain a part of our lexicon for years to come.