Frothing at the Mouth: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
September 1, 2023

"Frothing at the mouth" is an idiom that means to be very angry, eager, or enthusiastic about something, to the point of being irrational or violent. It can also describe someone suffering from a disease or a condition that causes them to produce foam or saliva from their mouth.

In short:

  • It is an idiom that means to be extremely angry or excited about something.
  • It can also mean to have foam or saliva coming out of one’s mouth due to a medical issue.

What Does "Frothing at the Mouth" Mean?

The idiom "frothing at the mouth" has two primary meanings, depending on the speaker's context and tone. The first is figurative and symbolic, while the second is literal and physical.

  • The symbolic meaning of "frothing at the mouth" is to be angry, furious, or outraged about something. It implies that someone is so mad that they lose their composure and act irrationally or violently. For example, if someone says that a politician is frothing at the mouth over a scandal, they are furious and vocal about it.
  • The literal meaning of "frothing at the mouth" is to have foam or saliva coming out of one's mouth, usually due to a disease or a condition affecting the nervous or respiratory systems. For example, if someone says that a dog is frothing at the mouth, it means that it has rabies or some other infection that causes it to produce excess saliva.

Where Does "Frothing at the Mouth" Come From?

The origin and history of the idiom "frothing at the mouth" are unclear, but some possible sources and explanations exist for its development and usage.

  • The literal meaning of "frothing at the mouth" comes from observing animals or humans with foam or saliva coming out of their mouths due to a medical issue.
  • The symbolic meaning of "frothing at the mouth" comes from the extension and exaggeration of the literal sense. It uses the image of an animal or a human with foam or saliva coming out of their mouth as a metaphor for someone very angry or excited about something.

10 Examples of "Frothing at the Mouth" in Sentences

Here are some examples of this idiom in different contexts and situations:

  • Oh my gosh! The protesters were frothing at the mouth as they clashed with the police.
  • He can't wait to get his hands on the new phone. He is practically frothing at the mouth.
  • She was frothing at the mouth when she learned about him cheating on her.
  • The snake bit him, and he started frothing at the mouth. We rushed him up to the hospital.
  • Holy cow! When he saw his car vandalized, he was frothing at the mouth with rage.
  • She was eager a bit too much to start her new job. She was frothing at the mouth with excitement.
  • Yaas! He was frothing at the mouth when he heard that his favorite band was coming to town.
  • Oh, snap. She was frothing at the mouth as she scolded him for messing up the kitchen.
  • He was frothing at the mouth when he realized he had lost his wallet in Mickey D's.
  • She was frothing at the mouth joyfully when she saw her baby for the first time.

Examples of "Frothing at the Mouth" in Pop Culture

The idiom "frothing at the mouth" has also appeared in various forms of pop culture.

Here are some examples of how it has been used:

  • In the book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, Harry sees a vision of his father's death by Lord Voldemort, who is described as "frothing at the mouth" with laughter.
  • In the comic book The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, zombies are often depicted as having foam or saliva dripping from their mouths, which is a sign of their infection and hunger.
  • In the TV show Breaking Bad by Vince Gilligan, Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) uses a poisonous plant called Lily of the Valley to make a child named Brock sick and induce symptoms similar to ricin poisoning, such as "frothing at the mouth."
  • In the movie The Wolf of Wall Street by Martin Scorsese, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) takes Lemmon 714, which makes him lose control of his body and start "frothing at the mouth."

Other Ways to Say "Frothing at the Mouth"

If you want to express the same idea as "frothing at the mouth" but use different words, you can use some synonyms or alternative expressions that have similar meanings.

Some of them are:

  • Seething with anger
  • Salivating over something
  • Ranting and raving
  • Having a fit
  • Going berserk

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Frothing at the Mouth"

Here are some common questions that people might have about the idiom "frothing at the mouth" and their answers:

  • What does "frothing at the mouth" mean?

"Frothing at the mouth" is an idiom that means to be very angry, eager, or enthusiastic about something, to the point of being irrational or violent. It can also describe someone suffering from a disease or a condition that causes them to produce foam or saliva from their mouth.

  • What is the origin of the phrase "frothing at the mouth"?

The origin and history of the idiom "frothing at the mouth" are unclear, but some possible sources and explanations exist for its development and usage

  • What are some synonyms for "frothing at the mouth"?

Some synonyms for "frothing at the mouth" are seething with anger, salivating over something, ranting and raving, having a fit, and going berserk. These expressions have similar meanings to "frothing at the mouth" but may have different connotations or nuances depending on the speaker's context and tone.

  • What are some antonyms for "frothing at the mouth"?

Some antonyms for "frothing at the mouth" are calm, relaxed, collected, composed, and serene. These words mean to be free from anger or excitement or to have control over one's emotions and actions. They are opposite to "frothing at the mouth," which implies losing one's composure and acting irrationally or violently.

  • What is the difference between "frothing at the mouth" and "foaming at the mouth"?

There is no significant difference between these two expressions. They both mean to be very angry or excited about something or to have foam or saliva coming out of one’s mouth due to a medical issue. They can be used interchangeably in most cases.

  • Is "frothing at the mouth" a bad thing?

It depends on the context and the tone of the speaker. Suppose someone uses it figuratively to describe someone angry or eager about something. In that case, it can be seen as negative or positive, depending on whether the speaker agrees with or opposes the person's emotions. If someone uses it literally to describe someone with foam or saliva coming out of their mouth due to a disease or a condition, it is usually wrong, as it indicates a severe health problem.

  • What are some idioms related to "frothing at the mouth"?

Some idioms related to "frothing at the mouth" are spitting mad, champing at the bit, biting one's tongue, blowing off steam, and losing one's temper. These idioms also use body parts or actions as metaphors for expressing anger or eagerness. They are similar to "frothing at the mouth," but they may have different degrees of intensity or frequency.

  • What does it mean when a dog is "frothing at the mouth"?

When a dog is "frothing at the mouth," it means it has foam or saliva coming out of its mouth. Various reasons, such as stress, excitement, exercise, nausea, dental problems, poisoning, heatstroke, or rabies, can cause this.

  • What diseases or conditions can cause "frothing at the mouth"?

Some diseases or conditions that can cause "frothing at the mouth" are rabies, epilepsy, tetanus, poisoning, asthma, or choking.

  • How do you use "frothing at the mouth" in a sentence?

You can use "frothing at the mouth" as a verb phrase with an auxiliary verb (such as be, was, were, etc.) and an adverb (such as with, over, from, etc.) to connect it to the subject and the reason.

Final Thoughts About "Frothing at the Mouth"

"Frothing at the mouth" is an idiom that means to be extremely angry or excited about something. It can also describe someone suffering from a disease or a condition that causes them to produce foam or saliva from their mouth.

In summary:

  • It is used to signify extreme anger, excitement, or eagerness.
  • It is a metaphorical expression and does not always involve actual foam.
  • It can also be figurative to mean being viciously and uncontrollably angry or upset.

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