Touching mouth body language (All you need to know)

Touching mouth body language (All you need to know)

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Touching the mouth is a sign of insecurity and vulnerability. It is a way to cover the mouth as if they are hiding what they are saying or not sure of themselves.

It can be seen as a gesture that is used to cover up some embarrassment that the person has spoken as if to say “hang on, I’m not ready to say this” or “I don’t want you to know I said this”.

Before you can really make any assumptions when you see someone touching their mouth from a body language point of you have to learn to read nonverbal communication correctly.

How to read body language: A quick guide

Body language is a form of communication that can be used to interpret someone’s thoughts, feelings, and attitude.

The following are some cues that may help you read body language:

  • Facial expression
  • Posture
  • Gestures
  • Proximity
  • Eye contact

When we read body language, we can usually read something like when someone touches their mouth and see it as a sign of either sadness or happiness.

We need to observe context and then look for clusters or shifts in behavior in order to get a true read.

What is context in body language terms

Context from a body language analysis point of view is what is going on around that person at the time of your reading?

Things to look out for when reading the context:

  • Who is around?
  • What situation are they in?
  • What is the conversation about?
  • Where are they?

Understanding context should give you a better understanding of why someone is displaying the nonverbal cues of touching the mouth. It will give you more data to go on.

Once we understand that context plays a part in reading body language, we then have to read in clusters.

What is a cluster shift in body language terms

A cluster shift refers to a cluster of movement that is not normal for that person and deviates from their baseline.

For example, if you are chatting with someone and you see them touch their mouth and then sit up in their chair and cross their arms, after a provocative question this is deemed as a cluster shift.

The change is worth noting as we might have triggered something internally that should be emotional or stressful.

What is a baseline

A baseline is a term used by body language experts to understand how someone looks, feels, and sounds when they are not under stress and going about their daily lives.

However, it is not always possible to get a person’s bassline if you have just met them.

You can pick up a person’s bassline by asking simple questions and then go from there, although not a proven method, it is still as effective.

Reading people’s body language can be tricky to start with, but it’s not impossible. After all, you’ve been reading people’s nonverbal cues since you were born.

Touching your mouth body language meaning

Touching your mouth body language meaning

What does touching the mouth in body language really mean?

The act of touching the mouth is a sign of nervousness, insecurity, or uncertainty.

However, it may also be an unconscious habit.

Touching the mouth can be done with the tongue or index finger to show that they are thinking hard about what they are saying or just to help themselves think better.

Some people also touch their mouth when they are deep in thought and trying to recall something.

It’s important to note that this gesture has many different meanings and the meaning can vary depending on the context of the conversation.

Touching your mouth can also be an indication that someone is lying or not telling the truth.

Hand touching mouth whilst you are talking

Hand touching mouth whilst you are talking

Frequent hand touching of the mouth can be an indicator that someone is lying or withholding information.

If you see someone touching their mouth while you are talking, they are subconsciously sending a signal for you to shut up.

They want you to stop talking about whatever topic you have just talked about.

Pay attention to the room whilst you talk, take a quick scan to see who is listening and who is paying attention.

Remember that there are no absolute rules in body language, so we have to read around the context we see someone touching their mouth while we’re talking.

Body language signals touching mouth

Body language signals touching mouth

A person’s mouth is a common source of non-verbal signals.

  • It may indicate a hungry or thirsty state.
  • A person may touch or cover their mouth to avoid talking about something that they don’t want someone to know about.
  • They might do this when they are hiding something, embarrassed, or lying.

Body language touching side of the mouth

Body language touching side of the mouth

Body language touches the side of the mouth when an individual is uncertain about the whole situation.

For example, a person may experience uncertainty when reading a book that they don’t enjoy or when watching a movie that they cannot tolerate.

This behavior can be seen in people who think that they are being lied to or deceived by others, but do not want to say anything about it because they might feel embarrassed.

They also do it when they are trying to avoid confrontation with someone else.

You may also see someone touching the side of the mouth when they have a toothache. They will often hold the side of the mouth to try and ease the pain.

“Context is everything when it comes to reading body language.”

Is touching the side of the mouth a sign of lying?

Is touching the side of the mouth a sign of lying?

Body language touching the side of the mouth can be a sign of lying.

Touching, blocking, or covering the mouth can be subconsciously used as a self-comforting gesture and may also be an indication of lying.

Touching side of the mouth: Touching the side of the mouth with thumb and index finger may indicate that someone is trying to cover up what they really want to say.

Blocking side of the mouth: Blocking one’s mouth with one hand can indicate that someone is nervous about sharing information.

Covering the side of the mouth: Covering the lips and nose and eyes can mean that someone does not want other people to know what they are thinking or feeling.

Remember context is key here. We read in clusters and have a good baseline of someone before we can tell if they are lying. You may not be correct in your analysis as new information comes to light.

Body language touching side of the mouth

Touching your mouth with a hand or chin gesture is a sign of uncertainty. It’s a classic gesture that indicates confusion and can also suggest that the speaker might be hiding something.

This gesture can be used as a sign of stress, anxiety, apprehension, and embarrassment.

This gesture is most often seen in men and women who are trying to speak to people they don’t know well or at all, such as strangers they meet on the street or speaking on the phone.

To relieve stress while talking, try clenching your toes in your shoes to control your nerves and release any excess energy.



Touching the mouth from a body language perspective has many different meanings. It could mean they are lying or it could mean they are under stress.

Whatever the meaning, we must remember there are no absolutes in body language and we have to read from a contextual point of view when reading the body language of touching the mouth.

Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor Body Language Expert