'Rinse your mouth/gargle with (rose/blossom water or Zamzam water or in case of culture differences Pierian spring water), before you dare speak of/about..'.

This is an Arabic saying. This is used right off after one has said something insulting, degrading or improper about someone or something. It means that your speak trash and their is no right to what one says, and that they are not in the small class, sophistication or esteem as that person or thing to speak about or them in such a degrading manner. It is a quick retort.

What is an equivalent to this?

  • Pierian spring water is inapt here. Alex tells us to drink deep or taste not.
    – deadrat
    Jan 30 '16 at 6:49
  • Oh sorry about that. My western culture is not very dense.
    – user151577
    Jan 30 '16 at 6:59
  • I was trying for a small joke (which I probably shouldn't do). "Alex" is English poet Alexander Pope who used those words in a well-known poem. The waters of the Pierian Spring are supposed to impart knowledge. No apology is necessary. I guarantee that your English is much better than my Arabic. Welcome to ELU.
    – deadrat
    Jan 30 '16 at 7:12

Consider Say it with flowers ...

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Watch your mouth or I'll wash it out with soap.

-- My mother when I first learned to swear twenty something years ago.

Yes, she actually did do this on one or two occasions, but apparently she wasn't the first.

  • 3
    This seems the opposite of the saying, which advises tasting mild, good-tasting things before you speak instead of threatening something distasteful afterwards.
    – deadrat
    Jan 30 '16 at 6:51

We ask someone to take the sting out of a harsh remark by saying

Smile when you say that.

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