10 Words for Pressing Lips Together

Have you ever wondered what words you can use to describe someone pressing their lips together? Reading into someone’s body language can cause problems if you’re unfamiliar with it.

This article will explain the best words to use and what pressed lips mean.

These are some of the better alternatives:

  • Sucked in
  • Swallowed
  • Compressed
  • Pursed
  • Pout
  • Inward
  • Vanishing
  • Flattened
  • Tightened
  • Closed

The best words for pressing lips together are “sucked in,” “swallowed,” and “compressed.” These terms suggest that someone has pressed their lips together or swallowed them into their mouth. These are signs of repressing speech, allowing someone to think before saying something.

Words for Pressing Lips Together

1. Sucked In

“Sucked in” is the best term to use when someone is thinking about what to say before responding. It suggests they have swallowed their lips into their mouth to stop themselves from speaking until they have all the details.

You’ll often see someone do this when they need to analyse a situation before responding. This ensures they come up with the best response before saying anything (especially if they’re worried their response might get them into some trouble).

  • She sucked in her lips at the mere mention of his name. She was definitely waiting to see what they would say.
  • You sucked in your lips when talking about me. I could tell you wanted to say something that didn’t come out.

2. Swallowed

“Swallowed” is a great synonym showing that someone has moved their lips into their mouth and kept their lips pressed shut. Again, it allows someone to stop themselves from speaking to ensure they say the right thing when they are asked to do so.

Analysing a situation by swallowing your lips is very common when reading body language. It gives you more time to think about your answer. It can also be used to show that you’re uncertain about what comes next in a conversation and need time to figure it out.

  • She swallowed her lips as she listened on. I could tell she wanted to say something but wasn’t ready yet.
  • You swallowed your lips again. Is there something that you’d like to say to me? I don’t mind if there is.

3. Compressed

“Compressed” works slightly differently here. It suggests that someone has pressed their lips together, though it doesn’t always mean their lips have disappeared. Instead, it could mean they have clamped their mouth shut to stop themselves from saying something rude.

You’ll often see people compressing their lips when they don’t want to speak. This is usually done negatively to show they are about to say something rude. It can be positive, but only when someone doesn’t want to say something about their true feelings in a situation.

  • He compressed his lips and bit his tongue. There was no way he would share his deepest desires with them.
  • I needed to compress my lips there. I’m so annoyed at myself for showing weakness and letting my feelings get the better of me.

4. Pursed

Pursed lips almost always imply anger or disappointment towards someone. It’s used when someone disapproves of another person or previous comment. When someone purses their lips, it means they press them tightly into each other, making it look like a tight kiss or whistle.

You’ll often see pursed lips during debates. When someone has commented that another person disagrees with, the disagreeing person will purse their lips to try and prevent themselves from speaking too soon to argue the point.

It’s very common for people to purse their lips when they don’t want to rush their response. They wait for the best time to respond to ensure their rebuttal gets the best audience.

  • Reading into pursed lips is a dangerous game, Michael. He wasn’t angry with you, but I understand why you thought he was.
  • I’m not sure what he is pursing his lips for. I thought he was happy to work on the same side as the others.

5. Pout

“Pout” is a good term for someone who has put their lips together and let them protrude slightly. A pout is often a sign of false sadness or disappointment when someone doesn’t get what they want.

People will often pout when they’re told “no.” They will pout their lips because they can’t get their own way. It’s a defence mechanism that some people have when they want to get something but have been refused it by whoever has control over it.

  • She keeps pouting and showing that she’s not mature enough to handle this. I wish she would stop doing that.
  • You don’t have to pout all the time. There are other ways for us to go about this that work better for you.

6. Inward

Inward lips imply that someone has sucked their lips in to avoid commenting too early in a conversation. This typically implies they think hard before replying to someone, suggesting they need all the information before saying something they may regret later.

It’s common for people to have inward lips when they’re not sure what comes next. They will often listen to what others are saying to work out what they need to say next to fit in well with the flow of the conversation.

  • He has inward lips. He’s thinking long and hard about his response. You can tell he wants to get it right.
  • Your inward lips tell the full story here. I can’t believe you don’t want to talk to them about your issues.

7. Vanishing

“Vanishing” is a good alternative here to refer to pressed lips. It shows that someone’s lips have completely vanished into their mouth, meaning they are deep in thought or trying to stop themselves from speaking.

You’ll often see someone’s lips vanish when they’re unsure if they can speak. They might censor themselves because they’re worried about how someone might take their next comment.

They might also be unsure about the best response. Allowing their lips to vanish is a way to show you that they’re thinking before responding properly.

  • She has vanishing lips every time I ask about her family. I wonder what’s going on there that she can’t tell me about.
  • Your vanishing lips tell me everything I need to know. I had no idea you were so against doing this with me.

8. Flattened

“Flattened” is another great term to use here. It works when someone has pressed their lips together so tightly that they appear flat when looking at them head-on. You should use this when someone is restricting their speech or trying to think before saying anything wrong.

Flattened lips often indicate that someone doesn’t want to speak about something. It suggests they’re “biting their tongue” to avoid an awkward situation which might lead someone to disagree with a comment they want to share.

  • She flattened her lips as he continued talking. I’ve never seen someone react so violently to a comment before.
  • I flattened my lips to let her speak. There was no reason for me to say anything while she explained herself.

9. Tightened

“Tightened” is a similar synonym to “flattened.” You can use it when someone has tightened their mouth into a pressed shape, meaning that their lips are almost invisible. This one works best when someone doesn’t want to speak or is pausing for thought.

Tightened lips often reveal that someone has something to say that they’re unwilling to share. They might not want to share for a few reasons, mainly because they fear being challenged or feel embarrassed about what might come out of their mouth.

  • They both tightened their lips when the problem was mentioned. Clearly, they knew more about it than they let on.
  • I thought I saw you tighten your lips when I said that. I knew you were hiding something from me.

10. Closed

“Closed” implies that someone’s mouth is shut and their lips are touching (or pressed together). This is a much broader term than others, and it can suggest a whole range of things depending on the context.

For the most part, it’s best not to read into closed lips. Most people’s resting facial position means their lips are closed. You should avoid reading into this too much, as most people don’t even realise their lips are closed until you point it out to them. It’s a natural resting position.

  • His closed lips tell me all I need to know. I’m going to ask him more about it in private later. I think that’ll be good.
  • You have closed your lips, but I’ll get you to open them again. In time, you’ll tell me what I want to know.

What Does Pressing Lips Together Mean?

Body language can be read just as easily as spoken language if you know what to look for. Pressing your lips together has two distinctive meanings.

Pursed lips are a sign of anger or suppression. If someone presses their lips together into a “kissing” or “whistling” shape, this is known as pursing your lips. People will often do it when they want to hold their mouths shut to prevent themselves from revealing their true emotions.

If someone presses their lips together until they disappear into their mouth, this is known as sucking them in. Sucked-in lips often indicate that someone is thinking or uncertain about something. It’s also an analytical gesture, showing they are listening to someone speak and figuring out a response as they go.