Loose Lips Sink Ships


“One moment has the power to destroy everything. We should just be able to identify that moment.” Things that are often said in humour can be considered offensive by some people and can destroy relationships. And that’s why the quote, ‘loose lips sink ships’, is so important to understand.



“Loose lips, sink ships”, means to have an unguarded talk or careless talk. It is a phrase which was coined during World War II, by the American army, to warn the servicemen about not revealing important information to the enemy nations that might undermine the war efforts. The slogan was actually, “loose lips might sink ships”.



The literal meaning can be understood from the example that, the sailors on leave from their ships might talk about what ship they sailed on, or where it had come from, or where it was going. If they talked too much (had ‘loose lips’) they might accidentally provide the enemy with anecdotal information that might later cause their ship to be tracked, and bombed and sunk, hence “loose lips sink ships”.


In Britain, the quote that was used was, “careless talks cost’s lives”, this had the same meaning. Other similar quotes were used in Sweden and Germany also, in their native languages. Later, it came to mean any excessive talk that might sabotage a project.


“Give every man thy ear, but very few thy voice” – William Shakespeare

“Even a fish couldn’t get caught if it didn’t keep its mouth open” – American phrase

“The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers, – is it true, is it kind, is it necessary? “– Arabian proverb

“Be careful who you open up to. Very few actually care. The rest of the ones just need gossip to talk about” – Ema Watson

“Don’t waste your words on people who don’t deserve it. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all” – Mandy Hale

STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?

1)House Speaker of the United States, Nancy Pelosi has recently said, on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s openness to a foreign government offering damaging information about a political rival is “a very sad thing” and “appalling”. She said, specifically pointing to the president that, loose lips can sink ships and it was a messy approach to intelligence. “The President gave us once again evidence that he does not know right or wrong,” she said at her weekly press conference.


2)In 2014, The secretary of state of the United Nations, John Kerry, appeared to criticize Israel’s claims about the targeted scope of its attacks on Gaza, as an open microphone caught him talking to an aide ahead of a TV interview. “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation, it’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Kerry, who was appearing on Fox News Sunday as part of a tour of all five main US talk-shows, said to an aide on the phone, in a frustrated tone.


3)Recently in Kenya last year, Debarl Inea hosted an AM show, to share the panellist’s thoughts on Duale’s idea of unguarded talk about the fact that suspects who allegedly raped a 15-year old girl in Wajir, should be stoned to death according to the Islam Sharia.

DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive

‘People who talk more, have a light heart, they don’t have any hidden feelings for anyone’, is one of the phrases often used for the cheerful and so-called ‘talkative’ people. But these same people can often break hearts, sometimes. To have loose lips means to have a big mouth, susceptible to talking about everything to everyone. Sinking ships refers to anything, from small acquaintances to long and hearty relationships (with friends or a significant other). So when one says loose lips sink ships, one is basically saying that, if you can’t shut up you are going to end up hurting people, psychologically and emotionally. And also, it also affects the person who says it.


The importance of talking in the limit, therefore, needs to be understood and can be found out from this scientifically proven fact. The biggest research in the world that is going on, is about how to live happily in life? And, the solution that came out was, how well we maintain our relationships, with our family, friends and people around us. It is the only way to be happy. And an important way to maintain good relationships is to speak well, right, correct, with the correct persons. Not more, not less, but correct. Relationships require a great deal of attention and we often tend to take them for granted.


This slogan was in use by 1942, during World War II and the countians (attendees at the local county school) registered in the high school lobby before the opening of the meeting, were surrounded on all sides by posters bearing such admonitions as “Loose Lips Might Sink Ships”, “Defence On The Sea, Begins On The Shore”, “If You Tell Them Where Are You Going, You May Never Get There”, “Defence In The Field Begins In The Factory” and patriotic creeds and slogans. As it was World War II, even the leaking of minor information, could be used by the enemy nations and hence, prove to be a threat to them. Hence they were taught about it in these schools.


Also, this slogan has to do much with the communication skills that a person has. In workplaces, job interviews, group discussions or anywhere in the outside world, one needs to understand the importance of talking, and talking to the point, and also of keeping mum when there is no need to talk. This is what is called good communication skills. Sometimes, talking too much, often more than what is needed, can be considered as rude and sometimes, also as being over-smart. That is the difference between a person having good communication skills and a person having ‘loose lips’. A person with good communication skills has the ability to shape his career according to himself or herself, by just understanding the art of communication.

For Loose Lips Sink Ships

Although, as discussed above, unguarded talk has all the disadvantages in the world, it can also prove to be useful in some cases. While speaking about a particular thing, we put forward our opinions, our points of view about that thing and that can actually help us to know much about our personality, our nature. Sometimes some traits of our personality are hidden which we have no idea about, and that comes out only while we are in that particular situation. But surely, we should take care of which environment we are in, and what people are around us while expressing ourselves.


Against Loose Lips Sink Ships

  1. Unguarded talk can destroy any tough-made plan.
  2. It can break relationships.
  3. It can sabotage a project.
  4. It shows the bad communication skills of that person.


From the above discussion, it can be said that talking more is not a problem, but talking carelessly, definitely is. We should be aware of unguarded talks and try to avoid it. Sometimes we end up hurting people by saying some things or many things that are not required, just because of the habit of talking carelessly. Also as discussed above, it can sabotage many important projects which can directly undermine the efforts of many people. Hence, because of one person’s careless talk, everyone involved in it has to bear its aftereffects.


We should know, what and how much to talk in a conversation, and also where to end the conversation. This might seem to be difficult and surely is, because it also depends on the mood of that person who is talking. Happy, sad, frustrated, disgusted, chilled, relaxed, in all these moods, one should have that mental stability and control over herself or himself, to really mind what they are saying. And yeah, this takes guts and comes with practice.

Author – Shraddha Khaparde

Scrutiny – Riya Pansare

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