[ tuhng-tahyd ]
See synonyms for tongue-tied on
  1. unable to speak, as from shyness, embarrassment, or surprise.

  2. affected with tongue-tie.

Origin of tongue-tied

First recorded in 1520–30; tongue + tie + -ed2

Words Nearby tongue-tied Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use tongue-tied in a sentence

  • At this impudent and barefaced falsehood, the agent was tongue-tied, but he turned to Hank.

    The Boy With the U. S. Fisheries | Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • She was unwilling to speak; she wanted to make Frederick understand what kind of person Mr. Thornton was—but she was tongue-tied.

    North and South | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • For fear of getting tongue-tied again, I set right in, with a steady stream of talk.

  • He felt tongue-tied, more than usually awkward, terribly and shamefully nervous.

    The Imaginary Marriage | Henry St. John Cooper
  • Even though I'd told the story three times that night, I found myself tongue-tied.

    Little Brother | Cory Doctorow

British Dictionary definitions for tongue-tied


  1. speechless, esp with embarrassment or shyness

  2. having a condition of tongue-tie

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