Mum’s the Word

I was writing a post about being a mum and running a business. This title seemed to fit. Mum. Word. Attention grabbing.

But of course I then wanted to know where this saying came from.

My understanding is that is it used when you want to say – ‘I’ll keep your secret’, or ‘I won’t say anything’.

Of course good ole’ Shakespeare comes into the mix….

“Mum’s the word” means to keep silent or quiet.

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]

The word “mum” is a slanged version of momme, which was used between 1350-1400 in Middle English with very close to the same meaning: Be silent; Do not reveal

Source Wikipedia

Two things stood out for me.

1. The fact that mum comes from momme. Now I can better understand why our Canadian and American friends use mom and not mum.
2. That the word mum is connected to ‘keeping silent or quiet’. Isn’t it interesting how language has played a big role in ‘keeping women in their place’ over the centuries?

I’ll get back to that other blog later. I might call it – Working and Mumming. The joys of running your own business when you have young kids.