unable to speak, as from shyness, embarrassment, or surprise.
affected with tongue-tie.

Origin of tongue-tied

1520–30; tongue + tied




impeded motion of the tongue caused especially by shortness of the frenum, which binds it to the floor of the mouth.

verb (used with object), tongue-tied, tongue-ty·ing.

to make tongue-tied.

Origin of tongue-tie

First recorded in 1545–55; back formation from tongue-tied Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tongue-tied

Contemporary Examples of tongue-tied

Historical Examples of tongue-tied

  • The certainty that she knew what they had tried so hard to conceal kept them tongue-tied.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Other considerations occurring to his prudence had kept him tongue-tied from day to day.

    End of the Tether

    Joseph Conrad

  • A woman is tongue-tied by the countless conventionalities of education.

    Young Mr. Barter's Repentance

    David Christie Murray

  • It, however, checked her advances, and for some time held her tongue-tied.

    The Pioneers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I expected on the whole to see him tongue-tied, especially before Dolly and Dilly.

British Dictionary definitions for tongue-tied



speechless, esp with embarrassment or shyness
having a condition of tongue-tie



a congenital condition in which the tongue has restricted mobility as the result of an abnormally short frenulum
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

tongue-tied in Medicine



Restricted mobility of the tongue resulting from abnormal shortness of the frenum.ankyloglossia
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.