Meaning of TONGUE in English


I. ˈtəŋ noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English tunge, from Old English; akin to Old High German zunga tongue, Old Norse tunga, Gothic tungo, Old Latin dingua, Latin lingua


a. : a process of the floor of the mouths of most vertebrates that is attached basally to the hyoid bone, that consists essentially of a mass of extrinsic muscle attaching its base to other parts, intrinsic muscle by which parts of the structure move in relation to each other, and an epithelial covering rich in sensory end organs and small glands, and that serves especially for taking and swallowing food, as the principal seat of the sense of taste, as an instrument for cleansing and grooming, as a tactile organ (as in a snake), and in some forms (as the toad) as a prehensile organ for the seizing of prey

b. : an analogous part of various invertebrate animals (as the radula of a mollusk or the lingula or proboscis of some insects)

2. : the flesh of the tongue of an animal (as the ox or sheep) used as food

3. : the agent of articulated speech : the power of communication or expression through speech

though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels — 1 Cor 13:1 (Authorized Version)

wonders that no tongue can tell

done to death by slanderous tongues — Shakespeare

you had better hold your tongue

used the strongest words he could lay tongue to

gave him the rough side of my tongue


a. : a spoken language ; especially : a speech used by a particular people or class or in a particular region : dialect

b. : a language other than one's own : a foreign or strange language

c. tongues plural , archaic : the learned languages (as Hebrew, Greek, and Latin) — used with the

d. archaic : a people having a distinct language

gather all nations and tongues — Isa. 66:18 (Authorized Version)

e. : manner or quality of utterance with respect to tone or sound

a soft tongue

or the sense of what is expressed

a flattering tongue

a foolish tongue

or the intention of the speaker

a flattering tongue

f. : ecstatic usually unintelligible utterance called forth in a moment of religious excitation

any believer might offer a hymn, or a revelation, or a tongue — C.T.Craig

— see gift of tongues

g. : the cry of or as if of a hound pursuing or in sight of game — used especially in the phrase to give tongue

5. : tonguefish


a. : a tapering cone of flame

Pentecostal tongues of fire

b. : a tapering decorative element used in relief carvings especially on moldings

tongue and dart molding

— compare egg and dart


a. : a point or long narrow strip of land projecting from the mainland into a body of water

b. : a point of ice projecting nearly horizontally from the submerged part of an iceberg

c. : a current that runs rapidly between rocks

d. : the lower part of a valley glacier

e. : a minor subdivision or specifically developed part of a sedimentary formation that thins laterally to disappearance in one direction

f. : an offshoot from a body of intrusive igneous rock

g. : a narrow body of air projecting from a main air mass

interlocking dry and moist tongues along a cold front

8. : something resembling an animal's tongue in being elongated and fastened at one end only: as

a. : a movable pin in a buckle that passes through a hole in the strap to be secured ; also : the corresponding pin of a brooch or clasp

b. : the index of a balance or scale

c. : a metal ball freely suspended inside a bell so as to strike against the sides as the bell is swung


(1) : the free vibrating end of the reed in an organ pipe or wind instrument

(2) : the vibrating part of a Jew's harp

e. : the pole of a 2-horse vehicle

wagon tongue

f. : the flap of leather or other material under the lacing or buckles of a shoe at the throat of the vamp

g. : a switch piece consisting of a movable point with a suitable enclosing or supporting body structure and designed for use on one side of a railroad track especially of a street railway

h. : tang 2a

i. : the swiveling part of a carpenter's bevel

j. : the endpiece of a mainspring serving as its attachment to the inside of the enclosing barrel

k. : a short block of wood or iron so placed in the jaws of a gaff as to facilitate its sliding up and down the mast


a. : the projecting rib on one edge of a board that fits into a corresponding groove in an edge of another board to make a flush joint

b. : feather 6

Synonyms: see language

- on the tip of one's tongue

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

transitive verb


a. archaic : utter , speak

b. : scold , abuse

2. : to touch or lick with or as if with the tongue

cows tonguing the long grass

tongue a cigarette

arms full of squirming, tonguing dog — Walter Karig


a. : to cut a tongue on

tongue a board

b. : to join (as boards) by means of a tongue and groove

4. : to articulate (notes) by tonguing

in vain did he lip and tongue the notes as instructed — Israel Zangwill

a lightning- tongued cornet solo

intransitive verb

1. : talk , chatter — used often with it

tongue it all day long


a. : to project in a tongue : send out tongues

forest belt of Siberia tongues southwards — C.D.Forde

icebergs tongue out dangerously under the surface

b. : to thin to disappearance : taper off — used often with out

the bed tongues out within 10 feet — Journal of Geology

3. : to give tongue

hounds tonguing frantically on the scent

4. : to make a cut or slit in the stem of a plant before the operation of layering

5. : to articulate notes on a wind instrument

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.