A Closed Mouth Catches No Flies” – Wang Yangming

A Closed Mouth Catches No Flies" - Wang Yangming

“A closed mouth catches no flies.”

– Wang Yangming (attributed)

The quote “A closed mouth catches no flies” attributed to Wang Yangming is a concise yet profound statement that carries valuable wisdom. This proverbial expression implies that staying silent or refraining from engaging in unnecessary or unproductive speech can prevent one from attracting problems or unwanted consequences. In this explanation, we will delve into the meaning of the quote and explore its implications through the following subheadings:

  1. The Power of Silence:
    • The quote suggests that there is inherent strength in maintaining silence. Rather than succumbing to the urge to speak unnecessarily, exercising restraint can shield individuals from attracting negative consequences or inviting unnecessary troubles into their lives. By keeping one’s mouth closed, unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, or criticisms can be avoided.
  2. Prudent Communication:
    • While the quote advocates for silence, it is essential to recognize that effective communication is a vital aspect of human interaction. The intent behind “A closed mouth catches no flies” is not to discourage healthy and productive communication, but rather to caution against careless or harmful speech. Selective and thoughtful communication allows individuals to convey their thoughts, opinions, and concerns without inviting unnecessary problems.
  3. Avoiding Gossip and Rumors:
    • One interpretation of this quote revolves around the dangers of engaging in gossip and spreading rumors. By choosing not to participate in idle talk or contribute to the dissemination of unverified information, individuals can shield themselves from potential backlash or negative consequences associated with such behavior. Maintaining a closed mouth in such situations can preserve one’s reputation and prevent unnecessary conflicts.
  4. Practicing Mindfulness:
    • The quote also highlights the importance of mindfulness and self-awareness in our daily interactions. It reminds us to be conscious of the words we choose and the impact they can have on others. By adopting a more mindful approach to communication, we can minimize misunderstandings, foster healthier relationships, and avoid attracting unnecessary problems.


Wang Yangming’s quote, “A closed mouth catches no flies,” carries valuable lessons about the power of silence, prudent communication, and the dangers of engaging in gossip. It encourages individuals to think before they speak, be mindful of the consequences of their words, and choose their interactions wisely. By embracing this wisdom, we can cultivate a more harmonious and trouble-free existence.

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