[ tuhng-ing ]
/ ˈtʌŋ ɪŋ /

noun Music.

the manipulation of the tongue in playing a wind instrument to interrupt the tone and produce a staccato effect.

Nearby words

  1. tongue-twister,
  2. tongued,
  3. tonguefish,
  4. tongueless,
  5. tongues wag,
  6. tonguing-and-grooving plane,
  7. tongzhou,
  8. toni,
  9. tonic,
  10. tonic accent

Origin of tonguing

First recorded in 1805–15; tongue + -ing1


[ tuhng ]
/ tʌŋ /


verb (used with object), tongued, tongu·ing.

verb (used without object), tongued, tongu·ing.

Origin of tongue

before 900; (noun) Middle English tunge, Old English; cognate with Dutch tong, German Zunge, Old Norse tunga, Gothic tuggo; akin to Latin lingua (OL dingua); (v.) Middle English tungen to scold, derivative of the noun

Related formstongue·less, adjectivetongue·like, adjectiveout·tongue, verb (used with object), out·tongued, out·tongu·ing.un·tongued, adjective

Can be confusedthong tong tongue Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tonguing

British Dictionary definitions for tonguing


/ (ˈtʌŋɪŋ) /


a technique of articulating notes on a wind instrumentSee single-tongue, double-tongue, triple-tongue


/ (tʌŋ) /


verb tongues, tonguing or tongued

Derived Formstongueless, adjectivetonguelike, adjective

Word Origin for tongue

Old English tunge; related to Old Saxon, Old Norse tunga, Old High German zunga, Latin lingua

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 tonguing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tonguing


[ tŭng ]


A mobile mass of muscular tissue that is covered with mucous membrane, occupies much of the cavity of the mouth, forms part of its floor, bears the organ of taste, and assists in chewing, swallowing, and speech.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for tonguing


[ tŭng ]

A muscular organ in most vertebrates that is usually attached to the bottom of the mouth. In snakes, the tongue is used as a sense organ. In frogs, the tongue is chiefly used to capture prey. In mammals, the tongue is the main organ of taste and is an important organ of digestion. In humans, the tongue is used to produce speech.
A similar organ in certain invertebrate animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with tonguing


In addition to the idioms beginning with tongue

  • tongue hangs out, one's
  • tongue in cheek, with
  • tongues wag

also see:

  • bite one's tongue
  • cat got someone's tongue
  • hold one's tongue
  • keep a civil tongue
  • on the tip of one's tongue
  • slip of the lip (tongue)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.