- to lift, seize, gather, hold, or handle with tongs, as logs or oysters.
- to use, or work with, tongs.
Origin of tong1
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
- (in China) an association, society, or political party.
- (among Chinese living in the U.S.) a fraternal or secret society, often associated with criminal activities.
Origin of tong2
1880–85, Americanism; < dialectal Chinese (Guangdong) tòhng, akin to Chinese táng meeting hall
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tong
Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Senator Mitch McConnell of Wherever are going at it hammer and tong.Let the Democrats Win
April 14, 2010
A bunch of us are planning to go to Tong's for a Chinese meal.Have We No Rights?
In the Tong version, the action seems to be done by the ring.The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Vol II of II)
Alice Bertha Gomme
Tong Pee, crushed to a pulp under the binnacle, made no reply.
He had never been a communicative person, Tong Pee, and now he had no choice.
It doesn't look like a place for a Tong row with Chinese pirates, though, does it?Moran of the Lady Letty
- to gather or seize with tongs
- to curl or style (hair) with curling tongs
- (formerly) a Chinese secret society or association, esp one popularly assumed to engage in criminal activities
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
Word Origin and History for tong
"Chinese secret society," 1883, from Cantonese t'ong "assembly hall."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with tong
see hammer and tongs.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.