Loose lips sink ships

Summer has finally arrived and its sunny days bring with them a disinclination to sit in front of a computer. So keeping that in mind, I’m setting up posts (of the tinana series) to appear automatically once a week or so throughout the silly season while I take a break from LCDs . But before you cry “auē”, I’ll be back in January with a notepad full of new ideas and smart-arse comments.

These latest phrases all mention the lips; unsurprisingly most of them are phrases to do with gossip.

Ngutu pī and ngutu kākā mean talkative or babbling, but don’t mistake the latter with kōrero kākā which means to parrot what someone else says.

E ngā ngutu kākā ki muri nei, turituri!
Hey you chatterboxes back there, keep it down!

Ngutu huia is yet another kīwaha for babblers, but also for know-it-alls.

Pēnei au e kore tērā ngutu huia e ngū.
I thought that know-it-all would never stop talking.

Ngutu momoho refers to someone being abusive, reviling or maligning.

Kua ngaua ia e te ngutu momoho.
He’s become the victim of slander.

Ngutu kau means to pay lip service, i.e. to say the right things but not mean them or follow through.

Ehara tēnei mihi i te ngutu kau.
This isn’t just a meaningless sentiment.

Ngutu hore refers to someone who is wasteful of food.

Kia kaua he ngutu hore, maharatia aua tamariki matekai.
You shouldn’t be wasteful, think about those starving children.

Ngutu tere is a metaphor for people who are false or untrustworthy. They’re smooth and say all the right things but aren’t being honest about themselves, think con-man or cult leader rather than just a liar.

Ki tōku nei whakaaro, he ngutu tere ia.
In my opinion, he’s untrustworthy.

Takawheta nā te ngutu means something to set the lips moving.

E kare, anei he takawheta nā te ngutu māu.
Hey cuz, here’s a juicy bit of gossip for you.

Poti o te ngutu, literally the corner of the lip, is an expression for the subject of gossip or disparagement. Kei te poti o te ngutu, iri(hia) ki te poti o te ngutu, and potia e te ngutu are all variations of the same.

He aha au i irihia ai ki te poti o te ngutu?
Why have I become the subject of gossip?

Kō ngā ngutu is a phrase meaning to put out the lips as a sign of contempt.

I te kitenga o taua taurekareka, kō ana ngā ngutu o te whānau.
When they saw that scoundrel, the family pursed their lips in disgust.

Ngutungutu ahi is an expression for delirium and nonsense talk, particularly that brought about by fever.

Ahakoa tōna āhua, he tikanga tō āna ngutungutu ahi.
However it may seem, there is meaning in her delirious ramblings.

Whio ngā ngutu, literally the lips whistled, is an expression to show one is satisfied and satiated. I’m not certain if it refers to an actual whistle or if in this context the whio is a euphemism for belch.

Ka mutu te reka o taua kai, ka whio aku ngutu!
That food was delicious, I’m stuffed to bursting!

Horo i ngā ngutu refers to a hasty promise (horo means to go quickly). There’s a really good whakataukī that you can use if someone is pressuring you to agree to something that you’re not sure about, along the lines of “I can give you the answer you want right now just to make you happy but it doesn’t mean I’ll actually do it”.

Horo i aku ngutu e mau ana te tinana
I can easily promise what I can’t deliver

Meri Kirihimete,
xox upokopakaru

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3 thoughts on “Loose lips sink ships

    • Nei rā te mihi ki a koe John B, ko koe tētahi i kaha tautoko ai i tēnei kaupapa mai i tōna ōrokohanga ki tēnei rā tonu. Ka kitea ana ngā mihi me ngā whakaaro o ngā kaipānui (pēnā i āu nā mihi), ka hurō ai te ngākau. Kia pai te hararei.

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