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[thawng, thong] /θɔŋ, θɒŋ/
a strip of material, especially of leather or hide, used to fasten or secure something.
a strip of leather or hide used for whipping; whiplash.
a shoe or slipper fastened to the foot chiefly by a strip of leather or other material passing between the first and second toes and often attaching to another strip of material, as a strap across the instep or around the ankle.
a brief garment for the lower body that exposes the buttocks, consisting of a strip of fabric passing between the thighs and attached to a band around the waist.
Origin of thong
before 950; Middle English; Old English thwong; akin to Old Norse thvengr strap, thvinga to compel
Related forms
thonged, adjective
Can be confused
thong, tong, tongue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for thong
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I cut the thong that bound him, as I spoke, and set him free.

    The Big Otter R.M. Ballantyne
  • The thong lashed his wounds, and he fell back into the mud with a yell.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • He had removed his collar, tie, and flashy diamond pin, and was diligently wrapping the thong of a black-jack about his wrist.

    The Trail of the Hawk Sinclair Lewis
  • I took the mast, which had a thong of bull's-hide round it, and tied it to the keel.

  • With his knife he quickly severed the thong that bound one of them, and the dull, red gold gleamed back in the flickering light!

  • In an instant he felt a ring, as of a rope or thong, settle upon his shoulders.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
British Dictionary definitions for thong


a thin strip of leather or other material, such as one used for lashing things together
a whip or whiplash, esp one made of leather
(US & Canadian, Austral & NZ) the usual name for flip-flop (sense 5)
  1. a skimpy article of beachwear, worn by men or women, consisting of thin strips of leather or cloth attached to a piece of material that covers the genitals while leaving the buttocks bare
  2. a similar item of underwear
Word Origin
Old English thwang; related to Old High German dwang reins, Old Norse thvengr strap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thong

Old English þwong "thong, narrow strip of leather (used as a cord, band, strip, etc.)," from Proto-Germanic *thwangaz (cf. Old Norse þvengr), from PIE root *twengh- "to press in on, to restrain." As a kind of sandal, first attested 1965; as a kind of bikini briefs, 1990.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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