But behind the locked door at the top of the house, the picture of Dorian Gray grew older every year. The terrible face showed the dark secrets of his life.The heavy mouth, the yellow skin,the cruel eyes -- those told the real story. Again and again, Dorian Gray went secretly to the room looked first at the ugly and terrible face in the picture, then at the beautiful young face that laughed back at him from mirror

what does this phrase mean?: "heavy mouth"

Edit: this excerpt comes from "Picture of Dorian Gray", written by Oscar Wilde. thank to Catija.

  • Can you cite the source or quote a longer excerpt? Please read this. – J.R. Aug 27 '15 at 19:08
  • I edited the question but I don't know anything about the publication, author, ... right now but I will add them to the question as soon as I find out. – Parham.Sh Aug 27 '15 at 19:42
  • Considering the text includes "Dorian Gray", I'm going to guess this is an excerpt from Wilde's *The Picture of Dorian Gray". – Catija Aug 27 '15 at 21:37

As others have said, it's not a standard phrase. However, it's important to point out how the word heavy can be used to describe things other than weight and mass. Couples can engage in heavy conversations; students can trudge through heavy reading passages. We can be advised not to eat a heavy meal before a long swim.

Your passage doesn't even tell us what is being described – something you should be more careful about in future questions. However, I can venture guess as to what the expression might mean, based on Definition 6 in Macmillan, which says:

heavy (adj.) used about things that look ugly because they are big
heavy features (=large mouth, eyes, and nose) : He was a tall dark man, with heavy features.

  • And then there's Back to the Future - I'm pretty sure that, here, it means something along the lines of "difficult to deal with". – Catija Aug 27 '15 at 19:28

Heavy mouth doesn't "mean" anything to me other than a mouth that is heavy. (It isn't a stock phrase, at least not one that I know.)

That isn't to say it isn't effective language. What would a face look like if the mouth were extremely heavy? I imagine a tired, serious expression, with the lips rarely lifting up or even moving, never smiling fully.


As @Adam said, it isn't really a stock phrase, it's just a description. I personally (without more context) would think of a monster of some sort, with lots of fat around the mouth area dragging it down. A mouth that doesn't often see the grace of a smile because somehow it is too much effort.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.