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tongs

[tawngz, tongz] /tɔŋz, tɒŋz/
noun, (usually used with a plural verb)
1.
any of various implements consisting of two arms hinged, pivoted, or otherwise fastened together, for seizing, holding, or lifting something (usually used with pair of).
Origin of tongs
see tong1
Can be confused
thongs, tongs, tongues.

tong1

[tawng, tong] /tɔŋ, tɒŋ/
noun
1.
verb (used with object)
2.
to lift, seize, gather, hold, or handle with tongs, as logs or oysters.
verb (used without object)
3.
to use, or work with, tongs.
Origin
before 900; 1865-70, for def 2; Middle English tong(e) (singular), tongen, tonges (plural), Old English; cognate with Dutch tang, German Zange pair of tongs or pincers; akin to Greek dáknein to bite
Related forms
tonger, noun
Can be confused
thong, tong, tongue.

tong2

[tawng, tong] /tɔŋ, tɒŋ/
noun
1.
(in China) an association, society, or political party.
2.
(among Chinese living in the U.S.) a fraternal or secret society, often associated with criminal activities.
Origin
1880-85, Americanism; < dialectal Chinese (Guangdong) tòhng, akin to Chinese táng meeting hall
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for tongs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In his left hand he holdeth a golden crozier, and in his right hand he useth a pair of goldsmith's tongs.

    Old and New London Walter Thornbury
  • Lift it carefully with a pair of tongs into a bath full of vinegar.

  • The man bent a thin stick double, and using it as a pair of tongs, held some indistinguishable object over the flames before him.

    Chronicles of Martin Hewitt Arthur Morrison
  • I have a reasonable good ear in music; let us have the tongs and the bones.

    Collected Poems Austin Dobson
  • He set on the anvil-stand a great anvil, and took in one hand his hammer and in the other hand his tongs.'

  • Do you think I can't see that you wouldn't touch me with the tongs if you could help it?

    The Talking Horse F. Anstey
  • In the great dining-room are the tongs which St. Dunstan used.

  • Villain, may the tongs hold you, and may you hold the tongs till sunset!

  • Above this is a rack for the tongs and tools, of which the smith possesses a considerable number.

    Life in a Railway Factory Alfred Williams
British Dictionary definitions for tongs

tongs

/tɒŋz/
plural noun
1.
a tool for grasping or lifting, consisting of a hinged, sprung, or pivoted pair of arms or levers, joined at one end Also called pair of tongs
Word Origin
plural of Old English tange; related to Old Saxon tanga, Old High German zanga, Old Norse tong

tong1

/tɒŋ/
verb (transitive)
1.
to gather or seize with tongs
2.
to curl or style (hair) with curling tongs

tong2

/tɒŋ/
noun
1.
(formerly) a Chinese secret society or association, esp one popularly assumed to engage in criminal activities
Word Origin
C20: from Chinese (Cantonese) t'ong meeting place
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 tongs
n.

Old English tange, tang "tongs," from Proto-Germanic *tango (cf. Old Saxon tanga, Old Norse töng, Swedish tång, Old Frisian tange, Middle Dutch tanghe, Dutch tang, Old High German zanga, German Zange), literally "that which bites," from PIE root *dank- "bite" (cf. Sanskrit dasati "biter;" Greek daknein "to bite," dax "biting"). For sense evolution, cf. French mordache "tongs," from mordre "to bite."

Tong

"Chinese secret society," 1883, from Cantonese t'ong "assembly hall."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with tongs

tong

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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6
8
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