'I reckon every man born of woman has his log to shift in the world--if so be you're hintin' at any o' Frankie's doings. He never hit beyond reason or without reason,' said Simon.

'I never said a word against Frankie,' Puck retorted, with a wink at the children. 'An' if I did, do it lie in your mouth to contest my say-so, seeing how you--'

'Why don't it lie in my mouth, seeing I was the first which knowed Frankie for all he was?' The burly sack-clad man puffed down at cool little Puck.

This is from “Simple Simon” from “Rewards and Fairies” by Kipling.

I do not understand what “do it lie in your mouth” mean.
I am glad if somebody teach me.

  • 1
    One thing you should understand is that Kipling was writing about 100 years ago, and his style was (in my opinion) old-fashioned even then. No one would write like this today unless he were writing in an intentionally old-fashioned style, so it is not surprising that this is hard to understand.
    – stangdon
    Sep 26, 2017 at 0:34
  • @stangdon Kipling's own style was quite straightforward and essentially modern; but the dialogue in Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies is spoken by characters from a deeper past--in this case, from the late 16th century--and often employs turn-of-the-20th-century dialect. Sep 26, 2017 at 10:11

3 Answers 3


Neither the Oxford English Dictionary, ed. 1 nor the English Dialect Dictionary records this precise use, but Puck and Simon clearly use lie here in a sense similar to that found in "lie in one's power": that is, to lie in your mouth is roughly equivalent to "be proper for you to say".

Puck questions Simon's competence or authority to contradict Puck's characterization of Drake, and Simon responds "Why shouldn't I be competent, since I was the first to know him?"

The uninflected do is dialect.


It is a strange expression. Here the person speaking is basically saying do you have the words or desire to speak.

This wouldn't be used in normal English, but the author is being poetic.

"it" can bee viewed as literally either the words or the want to speak.


"It does not lie in your mouth to say..." means "lt would be hypocritical or inconsistent for you to say..."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .