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.
- See nehmen.