mull over


mull over
also, mulling things over

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to take a long time to make a decision
  • to spend a large amount of time considering ones options before making a decision
  • to think sincerely about something
  • think over
  • consider
  • dwell on
  • think about
  • ponder
  • give consideration to
  • reflect / muse

Example Sentences

  1. I will need to mull things over before I decide whether or not to start my own business. It is a big decision.
  2. You should mull over getting back to your ex again.
  3. I am mulling over the expansion of my business to overseas.
  4. You have been mulling things over for weeks now, if you don’t give them an answer soon, they will employ someone else.
  5. My friend is mulling over the idea of adopting a baby.
  6. She woke up early in the morning and started mulling things over.
  7. We are mulling things over before finally choosing about where to live after our marriage.
  8. If I had enough time to mull things over the situation might be different.
  9. I need some more time to mull over my final decision.
  10. The NASA engineers mulled over another possible option to resolve the blurry images issue with Hubble telescope.


The original use of the word “mull” was used to describe the grinding of a mill. This phrase can be traced back to the 1800s. It is believed that it is related to the figurative mulling, “to grind to a powder.”

One of the first examples of the phrase can be found in the 1874 edition of The Atlantic Monthly:

The stage proprietor, the stage driver, and the hostler, mull over the problem.

Perhaps it is a stretch, but the literal and figurative turning over of something seems to be where the idiom originated from. Just as the wheat is turn over in a mill, the choices are turned over and examined until a conclusion can be reached.

In recent years it seems as if some people are dropping the “over” and simply using the word “mulling” to describe the ponderance of a decision.

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But this is a phrasal verb, isn’t it?

‒ Marta May 14, 2021

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