From Middle English thong, thwong, thwang, from Old English þwong, þwang, þweng, þwæng (“thong, band, strap, cord, strip of leather; phylactery”), from Proto-West Germanic *þwangi, from Proto-Germanic *þwangiz, *þwanguz (“coercion, constraint, band, clamp, strap”), from Proto-Indo-European *twenk- (“to squeeze, press, pressure”).
Cognate with Scots thwang, thwayng, thang (“thong”), Middle Low German dwenge (“clamp, jaws, steel-trap”), German Zwinge (“vise, clamp”), dialectal Norwegian tveng (“shoestrap, shoelace”), Icelandic þvengur (“strap, thong, latchet”).
thong (plural thongs)
- A strip of leather.
- (usually in the plural, Australia, US) An item of footwear, usually of rubber, secured by two straps which join to pass between the big toe and its neighbour.
- 1963 March 16, Hal Porter, “Little old lady passing by”, in The Bulletin, page 22, column 3:
- Because of August he wears shorts and sandals, the Japanese geta sort called thongs.
- 1964, The Beach Boys, All Summer Long
- T-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs (T-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs).
- 2006, Peter Murray, David Poole, Grant Jones, Contemporary Issues in Management and Organisational Behaviour, Thomson, page 108,
- Players turned up for questioning wearing thongs, shorts and T-shirts.
- 2008, Steve Parish, Eccentric Australia, page 104:
- Thongs are the favoured footwear for many Aussies, especially near the beaches, but most people in the Outback find that they can′t put a foot wrong with a tough, nicely worn-in pair or workboots.
- 2009, Charles Rawlings-Way, Sydney, Lonely Planet, page 126,
- You shouldn′t face condescension if you rock into a boutique in your thongs and a singlet, but neither will you be treated like a princess just because you′ve splashed $5000 on daddy′s credit card.
- (Britain, US, New Zealand) An undergarment or swimwear consisting of very narrow strips designed to cover just the genitals and nothing more.
- No! I won't buy you a thong. You're too young for that.
- The largest section of a bullwhip constructed of many straps of braided leather.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.