Hold your tongue

Here’s a few kīwaha to twist your tongues around.

Tama-arero is a personification of lying. Depending on your tone, it can be a more politic way to call someone out for fibbing than most terms for liars.

He uri koe nā Tama-arero?
Are you a descendant of liars? (Are you just making up stories?)

Arero rua has a few possible interpretations, the most common being duplicity, fraud, and insincerity. It doesn’t always mean that they’re outright liars but, like lawyers and politicians, they can be two-faced and spin the details to tell one story to one person and a different story to another. Other definitions include sitting on the fence, hedging bets, changes position mid-argument or someone who takes what you’ve said privately and repeats it altered or out of context.

Kaua rawa e aro atu ki tōna arero rua.
Don’t pay any attention to her insincere words.

Arero taiaha can mean someone who diplomatically doesn’t take sides in an argument (to avoid offending either party) but is most commonly a person who considers various sides of an issue, works out a compromise and then makes a pronouncement of some type for others to follow; a person of authority who shows good judgement and decision making (like a leader or judge). However there is yet another definition of arero taiaha, a person whose words can be cutting or pointed like the arero (spear-head) of a taiaha; these two interpretations aren’t mutually exclusive.

Kia tūpato ki te arero taiaha o Simon Cowell.
Be careful of Simon Cowell’s “constructive criticism”.

Arero whero is a metaphor for warriors. I’m not sure if this is because you can see the red of their tongues when they whētero, or because the arero of their taiaha are reddened with blood.

Kei te hoki mai ngā arero whero o Ngāti Tūmatauenga i Awhekenetāna.
The soldiers of the New Zealand Army are returning from Afghanistan.

Arero paremo means hesitating in speech or tongue-tied – as when you’re trying to say something but can’t find the right words or feel like you should say something but don’t want to be the proverbial shot messenger.

He aha te raru? He arero paremo tōu?
What’s the problem? Cat got your tongue?

Arero tarapepe simply means waggling tongues, a euphemism for gossips.

Me kihi mai, hei kai mā ēnei arero tarapepe.
Kiss me, so these gossips have something to talk about.

E patu te arero is a phrase referring to the damage caused by gossip and slander – contrary to the rhyme “sticks and stones” names do in fact hurt. You can use it to admonish someone for spreading unkind rumours.

E patu te rau, e patu te arero
As blades cut, so do tongues


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