Created By: AFP on October 3, 2010 Last Edited By: AFP on October 8, 2010

Loose Lips

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Tags: Launching soon, if nobody has any objections

When someone gives away sensitive information unintentionally because they can't keep it to themselves. The Trope Namer is the famous slogan from World War II "Lose Lips Sink Ships".

Very much Truth in Television, and something constantly warned about in the armed forces around the world, as you can never tell when the person on the street you are talking to might secretly be The Spy.

Due to the fact that Technology Marches On, it's even easier than ever to get people killed by running your mouth off, thanks to websites such as LiveJournal, Face Book, TV Tropes, and That Other Wiki. Always beware that when you talk about something that is privileged or secret, you might as well be standing on a roof top with a big sign and a megaphone.

A real danger, even if you don't live in a City of Spies, particularly if you unwittingly work near The Mole or are the target of a Honey Trap (A warning commonly given to members of the military when they are going out into town: "If a girl acts interested in you, and if you're ugly, then it's a trick."

When this is subverted, it can become Feed the Mole.

  • An episode of ER had two nurses talking about the two children of a patient who had been in an accident comforting each other... which ended up leading to Brother–Sister Incest. Unfortunately, they unknowingly were walking past the patient's husband, leading to a near-shooting incident (the father managed to calm himself down and came clean about what he had nearly done). The doctors were not pleased about the violation of Patient-Doctor Confidentiality and the incident it nearly caused.

  • The Other Wiki has an entry explaining the dangers of putting sensitive information (or at least, information that can come back to bite you in the ass) on Wikipedia.
Community Feedback Replies: 6
  • October 3, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    This is the point of the Private Snafu short "Spies". Snafu brags about how he'll never tell the secret information he knows, but he carelessly drops hints which are eagerly picked up by hidden spies.
  • October 3, 2010
    Rubeus Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone does this several times. Trust him with your life, but not your secrets.
  • October 3, 2010
    ^ That is Shouldnt Have Said That (okay, what happened to it?).
  • October 7, 2010
    Closest I can find to "Shouldn't have said that" is Ill Never Tell You What Im Telling You or Saying Too Much, but this is less about someone saying specifically what they intended not to, so much as someone innocently saying something that turns out to help the other side figure out what the secret is.

    Basically, the reason that the Air Force probably has more paper shredders than it does airplanes.
  • October 7, 2010
    While "The Enemy is listening" is a nice image, I suggest we go with the real life "Loose lips sink ships" poster as the trope page image.

    This phrase was coined as a slogan during WWII as part of the US Office of War Information's attempt to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to enemy spies. The slogan was actually 'Loose Lips Might Sink Ships. This was one of several similar slogans which all came under the campaigns basic message - 'Careless Talk Costs Lives'.

    See it at:
  • October 7, 2010
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit has the main character asking a few too many people where the detective's office is, allowing the bad guys to find it.
    • The Sum Of All Fears movie has one nuclear scientist's mom giving away some information to clark that allows him to find the terrorist's nuclear production area.