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.
on the tip of one's tongue
Ready to utter something but unable to remember it at the moment, as in I met him last year and his name is on the tip of my tongue—it'll come to me in a minute. [Early 1700]
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)