November 5, 2012

The phrase "cry poor mouth"

I never heard this phrase before this morning. I encountered it on a CNN Money page. Here's how it was used:
Family courts are rife with tales where men with off-the-books jobs cry poor mouth to the judge, only to drive away in a Mercedes. 
I looked it up and found this page, where among the responses, someone from NYC said they heard this all the time, and yet another city resident said they'd never heard it. Well, I'm a phrase freak and I've lived my whole life in NY, mostly in NYC -- and I've never heard this phrase before.

To cry poor mouth is defined in various web dictionaries as meaning "to complain, especially habitually, about a lack of money". Some sites add the notion that one cries poor mouth while secretly having not only money, but quite a bit of it.

Are you familiar with this phrase?


Beverly Slade said...

My grandmother used it quite frequently with regard to some neighbors. This was in the 1940's. She would be talking about people that dressed nice and acted snooty but would only buy small amounts of the lower priced bruised fruit and vegetables from the produce wagon. She'd say they were always crying poor mouth but had money to trash up on the weekends.

writenow said...

I love that. Thanks for commenting.