[tawng, tong]
verb (used with object)
  1. to lift, seize, gather, hold, or handle with tongs, as logs or oysters.
verb (used without object)
  1. to use, or work with, tongs.

Origin of tong

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 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


  1. (formerly) a Chinese secret society or association, esp one popularly assumed to engage in criminal activities

Word Origin for tong

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tonger


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.