tongs

[ tawngz, tongz ]
/ tɔŋz, tɒŋz /

noun (usually used with a plural verb)

any of various implements consisting of two arms hinged, pivoted, or otherwise fastened together, for seizing, holding, or lifting something (usually used with pair of).

Origin of tongs

see origin at tong1

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH tongs

thongs tongs tongues

Definition for tongs (2 of 3)

tong1
[ tawng, tong ]
/ tɔŋ, tɒŋ /

noun

verb (used with object)

to lift, seize, gather, hold, or handle with tongs, as logs or oysters.

verb (used without object)

to use, or work with, tongs.

Origin of tong

1
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

OTHER WORDS FROM tong

tong·er, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH tong

thong tong tongue

Definition for tongs (3 of 3)

tong2
[ tawng, tong ]
/ tɔŋ, tɒŋ /

noun

(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 tong

2
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for tongs

British Dictionary definitions for tongs (1 of 3)

tongs
/ (tɒŋz) /

pl n

a tool for grasping or lifting, consisting of a hinged, sprung, or pivoted pair of arms or levers, joined at one endAlso called: pair of tongs

Word Origin for tongs

plural of Old English tange; related to Old Saxon tanga, Old High German zanga, Old Norse tong

British Dictionary definitions for tongs (2 of 3)

tong1
/ (tɒŋ) /

verb (tr)

to gather or seize with tongs
to curl or style (hair) with curling tongs

British Dictionary definitions for tongs (3 of 3)

tong2
/ (tɒŋ) /

noun

(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

Idioms and Phrases with tongs

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.