• synonyms


[tawng, tong]
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  1. tongs.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to lift, seize, gather, hold, or handle with tongs, as logs or oysters.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to use, or work with, tongs.
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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
Related formstong·er, noun
Can be confusedthong tong tongue
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for tonger


verb (tr)
  1. to gather or seize with tongs
  2. to curl or style (hair) with curling tongs
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  1. (formerly) a Chinese secret society or association, esp one popularly assumed to engage in criminal activities
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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

Word Origin and History for tonger


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tonger


see hammer and tongs.

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