From Middle English tonge, tunge, tung, from Old English tunge, from Proto-Germanic *tungǭ (“tongue”) (compare West Frisian tonge, Dutch tong, German Zunge, Danish tunge, Swedish tunga), from Proto-Indo-European *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s (compare Irish teanga, Latin lingua, Tocharian A/B käntu/kantwo, Lithuanian liežùvis, Polish język 'language, tongue', Armenian լեզու (lezu), Sanskrit जिह्वा (jihvā́)).
- tounge (obsolete, now considered a misspelling); tung (informal/eye dialect); tong, tonge, toong, toongue, toung, toungue, tunge (all obsolete)
- (Received Pronunciation, US, Canada) IPA(key): /tʌŋ/
- (UK, Northern) IPA(key): /tʊŋ/
- (UK, Manchester) IPA(key): /tɒŋɡ/, /tʊŋɡ/
Audio (US) (file)
Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -ʌŋ
tongue (plural tongues)
- The flexible muscular organ in the mouth that is used to move food around, for tasting and that is moved into various positions to modify the flow of air from the lungs in order to produce different sounds in speech.
- Any similar organ, such as the lingual ribbon, or odontophore, of a mollusk; the proboscis of a moth or butterfly; or the lingua of an insect.
- (metonymically) A language.
- He was speaking in his native tongue.
- The poem was written in her native tongue.
- The power of articulate utterance; speech generally.
- parrots imitating human tongue
- (obsolete) Discourse; fluency of speech or expression.
- Much tongue and much judgment seldom go together.
- (obsolete) Honourable discourse; eulogy.
- Beaumont and Fletcher
- She was born noble; let that title find her a private grave, but neither tongue nor honour.
- Beaumont and Fletcher
- (religion, often in the plural) Glossolalia.
- In a shoe, the flap of material that goes between the laces and the foot, so called because it resembles a tongue in the mouth.
- Any large or long physical protrusion on an automotive or machine part or any other part that fits into a long groove on another part.
- A projection, or slender appendage or fixture.
- A long, narrow strip of land, projecting from the mainland into a sea or lake.
- The pole of a vehicle; especially, the pole of an ox cart, to the end of which the oxen are yoked.
- The clapper of a bell.
- (figuratively) An individual point of flame from a fire.
1895, H. G. Wells, chapter XI, in The Time Machine:
- Now, in this decadent age the art of fire-making had been altogether forgotten on the earth. The red tongues that went licking up my heap of wood were an altogether new and strange thing to Weena.
- A small sole (type of fish).
- (nautical) A short piece of rope spliced into the upper part of standing backstays, etc.; also, the upper main piece of a mast composed of several pieces.
- (music) A reed.
- Maori: teremū
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- (music, transitive, intransitive) On a wind instrument, to articulate a note by starting the air with a tap of the tongue, as though by speaking a 'd' or 't' sound (alveolar plosive).
- Playing wind instruments involves tonguing on the reed or mouthpiece.
- (slang) To manipulate with the tongue, as in kissing or oral sex.
- To protrude in relatively long, narrow sections.
- a soil horizon that tongues into clay
- To join by means of a tongue and groove.
- to tongue boards together
- (intransitive, obsolete) To talk; to prate.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
- (transitive, obsolete) To speak; to utter.
- such stuff as madmen tongue
- (transitive, obsolete) To chide; to scold.
- How might she tongue me.
- beef tongue
- cat got someone's tongue
- civil tongue
- double tonguing
- forked tongue
- give tongue, give tongue to
- hold one's tongue
- law of the tongue
- mother tongue
- native tongue
- roll off the tongue
- sharp tongue
- silver tongue
- speak in tongues
- stick one's tongue out
- tongue and groove
- tongue depressor
- tongue in cheek
- tongue lashing