definition of Tounge by The Free Dictionary





a. The fleshy, movable, muscular organ, attached in most vertebrates to the floor of the mouth, that is the principal organ of taste, an aid in chewing and swallowing, and, in humans, an important organ of speech.

b. An analogous organ or part in invertebrate animals, as in certain insects or mollusks.

2. The tongue of an animal, such as a cow, used as food.

3. A spoken language or dialect.


a. Speech; talk: If there is goodness in your heart, it will come to your tongue.

b. The act or power of speaking: She had no tongue to answer.

c. tongues Speech or vocal sounds produced in a state of religious ecstasy.

d. Style or quality of utterance: her sharp tongue.

5. The bark or baying of a hunting dog that sees game: The dog gave tongue when the fox came through the hedge.

6. Something resembling a tongue in shape or function, as:

a. The vibrating end of a reed in a wind instrument.

b. A flame.

c. The flap of material under the laces or buckles of a shoe.

d. A spit of land; a promontory.

e. A bell clapper.

f. The harnessing pole attached to the front axle of a horse-drawn vehicle.

7. A protruding strip along the edge of a board that fits into a matching groove on the edge of another board.

v. tongued, tongu·ing, tongues

1. Music To separate or articulate (notes played on a brass or wind instrument) by shutting off the stream of air with the tongue.


a. To touch or lick with the tongue.

b. To give (someone) a French-kiss.


a. To provide (a board) with a tongue.

b. To join by means of a tongue and groove.

4. Archaic To scold.


1. Music To articulate notes on a brass or wind instrument.

2. To project: a spit of land tonguing into the bay.


have/speak with a forked tongue

To speak deceitfully; prevaricate or lie.

bite/hold (one’s) tongue

To be or keep silent.

loosen (someone’s) tongue

To cause (someone) to speak freely or carelessly or to divulge information.

lose (one’s) tongue

To lose the capacity to speak, as from shock.

on the tip of (one’s) tongue

On the verge of being recalled or expressed.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. (Anatomy) a movable mass of muscular tissue attached to the floor of the mouth in most vertebrates. It is the organ of taste and aids the mastication and swallowing of food. In man it plays an important part in the articulation of speech sounds.

2. (Zoology) an analogous organ in invertebrates

3. (Cookery) the tongue of certain animals used as food

4. (Languages) a language, dialect, or idiom: the English tongue.

5. the ability to speak: to lose one’s tongue.

6. a manner of speaking: a glib tongue.

7. utterance or voice (esp in the phrase give tongue)

9. anything which resembles a tongue in shape or function: a tongue of flame; a tongue of the sea.

10. (Physical Geography) a promontory or spit of land

11. (Clothing & Fashion) a flap of leather on a shoe, either for decoration or under the laces or buckles to protect the instep

12. (Music, other) music the reed of an oboe or similar instrument

13. (Music, other) the clapper of a bell

14. the harnessing pole of a horse-drawn vehicle

15. (Mechanical Engineering) a long and narrow projection on a machine or structural part that serves as a guide for assembly or as a securing device

16. (Building) a projecting strip along an edge of a board that is made to fit a corresponding groove in the edge of another board

17. hold one’s tongue to keep quiet

18. on the tip of one’s tongue about to come to mind: her name was on the tip of his tongue.

19. with one’s tongue in one’s cheek tongue in cheek with insincere or ironical intent

vb, tongues, tonguing or tongued

20. (Music, other) to articulate (notes played on a wind instrument) by the process of tonguing

21. (tr) to lick, feel, or touch with the tongue

22. (Building) (tr) carpentry to provide (a board) with a tongue

23. (Physical Geography) (intr) (of a piece of land) to project into a body of water

24. (tr) obsolete to reproach; scold

[Old English tunge; related to Old Saxon, Old Norse tunga, Old High German zunga, Latin lingua]

ˈtongueless adj

ˈtongueˌlike adj

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



n., v. tongued, tongu•ing. n.

1. a movable organ in the floor of the mouth, functioning in tasting, eating, and, in humans, speaking.

2. the tongue of an animal, as an ox or sheep, used for food, often prepared by smoking or pickling.

3. the faculty or power of speech.

4. manner or character of speech: a flattering tongue.

5. the language of a particular people, region, or nation.

6. (in the Bible) a people or nation distinguished by its language.

7. tongues, speech, often incomprehensible, typically uttered during moments of religious ecstasy.

8. a strip of leather or other material under the lacing or fastening of a shoe.

9. a piece of metal suspended inside a bell that strikes against the side, producing a sound; clapper.

10. a vibrating reed or similar structure in a musical instrument.

11. the pole extending from a carriage or other vehicle between the animals drawing it.

12. a projecting strip along the center of the edge of a board, for fitting into a groove in another board.

13. a narrow strip of land extending into a body of water; cape.

14. the pin of a buckle, brooch, etc.


15. to articulate (tones played on a clarinet, trumpet, etc.) by strokes of the tongue.


a. to cut a tongue on (a board).

b. to join or fit together by a tongue-and-groove joint.

17. to touch with the tongue.

18. to articulate or pronounce.

19. Archaic.

a. to reproach or scold.

b. to speak or utter.


20. to tongue tones played on a clarinet, trumpet, etc.

21. to project like a tongue.


1. at or on the tip of one’s or the tongue,

a. on the verge of being said.

b. eluding the memory but about to be recalled: The answer is on the tip of my tongue.

2. give tongue, (of a hound in fox hunting) to bay while following a scent.

3. give tongue to, to utter; speak.

4. hold one’s tongue, to remain silent; refrain from speaking.

5. (with) tongue in cheek, as a joke; ironically.

[before 900; (n.) Middle English tunge, Old English, c. Old Frisian tunge, Old Saxon, Old Norse tunga, Old High German zunga, Gothic tuggo]

tongue′less, adj.

tongue′like`, adj.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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