Have you ever had a sore throat or a cough that made your voice sound funny?
If you've ever had a problem with your throat that made it hard to speak, don't worry. It's probably no big deal. Most likely, you just had a frog in your throat.
What?! A frog in the throat? That's right! If you don't remember swallowing a frog, that's understandable. That would be hard to forget, wouldn't it?
For example, if you looked up each word of an idiom in the dictionary, the expression wouldn't make any sense — or at least not mean what the speaker intended it to mean.
If a person has a frog in the throat, it doesn't mean that the person literally (actually) has a real frog in the throat. The phrase “frog in the throat" simply means the person is having trouble speaking due to a problem with the throat, such as hoarseness, phlegm, coughing or soreness.
“Frog in the throat" is a funny phrase, isn't it? It's a very vivid way of describing the fact that someone is having trouble speaking normally.
For some, the sound of a frog's croak probably comes immediately to mind. For others, the phrase might conjure up an image of a frog sticking out of someone's mouth!
As the saying became popular, legend has it that scam artists — called "snake oil merchants"— would sell fake cures for throat problems. As these merchants advertised their wares in town squares, a helper with a sore throat would take the fake cure, pretend to cough up a live frog and suddenly regain his voice. Although it was quite deceptive, it must have been entertaining to watch!