sharp tongue

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sharp tongue (plural sharp tongues)

  1. (idiomatic) The practice or characteristic of speaking to others in a harsh, critical, or insulting manner.
    • 1819, Washington Irving, "Rip Van Winkle":
      Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.
    • 1910, H. Rider Haggard, Queen Sheba's Ring, ch. 5:
      He hated the Professor, who smelt the rogue in him, and scourged him continually with his sharp tongue.
    • 2003 July 28, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Washington Memo: Can a 'Wire Brush' Learn Civility?," New York Times (retrieved 12 May 2014):
      Mr. Thomas rarely misses a chance to use his sharp tongue. Republicans are terrified of him; Democrats call him a bully.


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