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My heart was in my mouth (throat)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by grubble, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    Hello

    In Britain "My heart was in my mouth" is a very common expression meaning "I was very nervous/afraid."

    We also say "I had a lump in my throat" meaning pretty much the same thing. EDIT please see below for revised meaning

    My question is
    (a) does anyone reading this say, "My heart was in my throat" (a mixture of the two sayings that I gave above)

    (b) are any of the above sayings common in the USA? If so which?

    Many thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  2. Elwintee Senior Member

    London England
    England English
    I disagree when you say that "I had a lump in my throat" means more or less the same as "I was very nervous/afraid". I am used to its meaning "I am very much moved, and am near to tears". I know I'm not answering your question, but I don't want learners to get the wrong idea.
     
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I agree with Elwintee - the two expressions are quite different.
     
  4. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I agree with Elwintee and Panjandrum as to meanings—and in answer to the original questions: (a) we do not conflate the two expressions; (b) yes, both expressions are common in the US.
     
  5. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Dull as it is, Mr. Grub, I agree with everyone else (even Parla:eek::D)
     
  6. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    Okay thank you everyone.

    Thanks for putting me right on the meaning of "lump in the throat", I have edited my question to draw attention to this.

    (b) yes, both expressions are common in the US

    ...is the main answer I was seeking. :):thumbsup:
     
  7. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    P.S.

    Although none of you seem to go for "My heart was in my throat" (the mixture I was talking about); on the Spanish-English forum (where this all started), at least two Americans claim that this is the preferred version. http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2217504

    Sorry to introduce Spanish even indirectly but the relevant posts are right at the end, are in English and don't require any knowledge of Spanish.
     
  8. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)

    As an American, I would also say (if I ever cared to use such an expression) "My heart was in my throat." I can't imagine saying "My heart was in my mouth" -- that sounds gross.
     
  9. bzu Senior Member

    English
    I've never heard "My heart was in my throat", only "My heart was in my mouth" which, as mentioned in the Spanish forum, is a very common expression on this side of the Atlantic.

    "...in my throat" sounds grosser to me, as if you were in the process of digesting your own heart ;).
     
  10. exgerman Senior Member

    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    AE NYC here. I've heard in my throat but I don't think I've ever heard the in my mouth variant.
     
  11. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    Oh, gosh, you should really have that checked out, grubble...

    I agree with glenfarclas and exgerman.

    Also, "heart (is/was) in (my/your/his/her/its/our/their) throat" outnumbers "heart (is/was) in (my/your/his/her/its/our/their) mouth" about seven to three in the Corpus of Contemporary American English.
     

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