kein Blatt vor den Mund nehmen



Literally: “not to take a leaf in front of one’s mouth”. Compare the same in Dutch geen blad voor de mond nemen. Further origin uncertain. Sometimes claimed to derive from a custom among stage actors, who apparently used tree leaves or sheets of paper as a kind of mask. Also said to be from the use of a sheet of paper to muffle one’s voice when speaking privately in company. Perhaps eventually based on the metaphorical Feigenblatt (fig leaf) as a means of concealing the rude or indecorous.


  • IPA(key): /kaɪ̯n ˈblat foːɐ̯ den ˈmʊnt ˈneːmən/
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kein Blatt vor den Mund nehmen

  1. (idiomatic) to be outspoken; not to mince words; to call a spade a spade