Mum's the word

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Mum's the word is a popular English idiom. It is related to an expression used by William Shakespeare, in Henry VI, Part 2.[1]

Meaning[edit]

"Mum's the word" means to keep quiet, to say nothing. "Mum" is a Middle English word meaning "silent". [2] The word may be derived from the "mummer" who does pantomime and just acts without saying anything.[3] Note the phonetically similar German word "stumm" (Old High German "stum", Latin "mutus") meaning "silent, mute".

Origin[edit]

The origins of the phrase can be traced back to the fifteenth century Towneley Plays[4]

and notably in Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2, Act 1, Scene 2:

References[edit]