a shut mouth catches no flies

a shut mouth catches no flies

1599 J. MINSHEU Spanish Grammar 83 In a closed vp mouth a flie cannot get in.

1640 G. HERBERT Outlandish Proverbs no. 219 Into a mouth shut flies flie not.

1659 T. FULLER Appeal of Injured Innocence I. 12 The Spanish Proverb..is necessary in dangerous..Times, Where the mouth is shut no Fly doth enter.

1742 B. FRANKLIN Poor Richard’s Almanack (Feb.) Speak and speed: the close mouth catches no flies.

1897 ‘H. S. MERRIMAN’ In Kedar’s Tents xxiii. Concha, remembering..that no flies enter a shut mouth, was silent.

1926 T. A. WILLARD City of Sacred Well xv. Tell each of them that a shut mouth catches no flies. We may find..nothing..and..we do not want the other men laughing at us behind our backs.

1984 ‘M. HEBDEN’ Pel and Pirates (1987) v. 43 ‘People keep a tight lip. In bocca chiusa non entra mai mosca... It’s an old Italian saying. The people on the island use it.’ ‘What’s it mean?’ ‘A fly never enters a closed mouth. They don’t talk much.’


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