There's a saying I'm thinking of. Let's say I worked on your car and you were happy with it. Then your friend told you that the work was dissatisfactory and making up things to change your opinion, as you previously thought the work was fine.

"tainting your thoughts" or something. Basically whispering in your ear to change your opinion.

  • 1
    correction: unsatisfactory. This question belongs on ELL not here. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 16:30
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    @Lambie what is ELL?
    – Immigrant
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 17:39
  • It's the English Language Learner site.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


A couple of phrases and some words:

  • to poison one's mind against someone or something
  • to plant a seed of doubt in someone's mind
  • bad-mouthing or one of its synonyms [M-W].

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/poison+(one)+against+(someone+or+something) https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/plant-an-idea-doubt-suspicion-in-somebody-s-mind

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    I think your three examples each represent a level of severity. Planting a seed of doubt can be accomplished with one word. Poisoning one's mind would likely take a quite a bit of time, the implication being that a change of mind must take place. Bad mouthing best represents the OP's example. The bad mouther provides enough information to suggest that the work on the car was bad, even though some of that is made-up. Bad-mouthing is more vigorous than planting a seed of doubt but far from poisoning anyone's mind.
    – EllieK
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 18:48
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    Iago in Othello says "I'll pour this pestilence into his ear" and there are a lot of similar expressions with poison, toxins, etc, going in ears and minds. I'm not sure which is the exact best phrase.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 21:17

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