Foaming at the Mouth Meaning
Definition: Very angry; in a rage; furious.
This expression is used to describe someone who appears extremely angry, not merely someone who feels great anger but keeps a calm facade.
In the case of foaming at the mouth, the physical appearance of someone looks angry.
Origin of Foaming at the Mouth
William Shakespeare used this idiom in his play Julius Caesar in 1601, so we know that it was in use
since at least the early 1600s.
The line in the play was,
- He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.
Many people believe that this expression comes from the rabies disease, which causes animals to froth at the mouth and act aggressively and violently.
This argument is strengthened by the fact that rabies has existed for at least 4,000 years and was then and is now a well-known disease.
Examples of Foaming at the Mouth
In this example dialogue, two friends use the idiom in an argument.
Rodrigo: I can’t believe you would do this!
Alisha: Please try to calm yourself.
Rodrigo: I am calm! Why do you think I’m not calm?
Alisha: For one thing, you’re screaming at me. For another, you’re practically foaming at the mouth. You look like you’re about to explode.
Rodrigo: Okay. I’m going to take a walk and come back when I feel more relaxed.
In the example below, two friends are discussing a story that they heard on the news.
Luis: Did you see that man who started the bar fight on the news last night?
Stephanie: I did, but I don’t know what happened.
Luis: I don’t think anyone knows, but he must have been really angry about something! He was really foaming at the mouth. He kept punching anyone who got near him.
Stephanie: That’s out of control. It’s good that they arrested him before he could hurt anyone too badly.
In this quote, the idiom describes the behavior and appearance of a basketball player during a game.
- “You need a guy to pick up the overall energy of the team when you’re going through the type of game that we had. He was coming over to the bench, yelling and screaming and foaming at the mouth. It was awesome.” –Chicago Tribune
In this Washington Post article, the author emphasizes how upset he was after some bad luck and failing to be able to use a feature on his phone.
- The frustration of losing my debit card combined with the frustration of this stumped, automated voice had me foaming at the mouth. –Washington Post
The phrase foaming at the mouth is an expression that describes a person who looks extremely angry and aggressive.