verb (used with object), tongued, tongu·ing.
- to cut a tongue on (a board).
- to join or fit together by a tongue-and-groove joint.
- to reproach or scold.
- to speak or utter.
verb (used without object), tongued, tongu·ing.
- Fox Hunting.(of a hound) to bay while following a scent.
- to utter one's thoughts; speak: He wouldn't give tongue to his suspicions.
- on the verge of being uttered.
- unable to be recalled; barely escaping one's memory: The answer was on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't think of it.
Origin of tongue
verb tongues, tonguing or tongued
Word Origin for tongue
Old English tunge "organ of speech, speech, language," from Proto-Germanic *tungon (cf. Old Saxon and Old Norse tunga, Old Frisian tunge, Middle Dutch tonghe, Dutch tong, Old High German zunga, German Zunge, Gothic tuggo), from PIE *dnghwa- (cf. Latin lingua "tongue, speech, language," from Old Latin dingua; Old Irish tenge, Welsh tafod, Lithuanian liezuvis, Old Church Slavonic jezyku).
For substitution of -o- for -u-, see come. The spelling of the ending of the word apparently is a 14c. attempt to indicate proper pronunciation, but the result is "neither etymological nor phonetic, and is only in a very small degree historical" [OED]. Meaning "foreign language" is from 1530s. Tongue-tied is first recorded 1520s.
"to touch with the tongue, lick," 1680s, from tongue (n.). Earlier as a verb it meant "drive out by order or reproach" (late 14c.). Related: Tongued; tonguing.
hold one's tongue
Also, hold or keep one's peace. Keep quiet, remain silent, as in If you don't hold your tongue you'll have to go outside, or Jenny kept her peace about the wedding. The idiom with tongue uses hold in the sense of “restrain,” while the others use hold and keep in the sense of “preserve.” Chaucer used the first idiom in The Tale of Melibus (c. 1387): “Thee is better hold thy tongue still, than for to speak.” The variant appears in the traditional wedding service, telling anyone who knows that a marriage should not take place to “speak now or forever hold your peace.” [First half of 1300s] Also see keep quiet.
In addition to the idioms beginning with tongue
- tongue hangs out, one's
- tongue in cheek, with
- tongues wag
- bite one's tongue
- cat got someone's tongue
- hold one's tongue
- keep a civil tongue
- on the tip of one's tongue
- slip of the lip (tongue)