Topic: HUMAN

Language: Old English
Origin: tunge


1 noun
tongue1 S3 W3


[countable]HBH the soft part inside your mouth that you can move about and use for eating and speaking:
Joe ran his tongue over his dry lips.
The taste of the chocolate was still on her tongue.
The girl scowled at me, then stuck out her tongue.

click your tongue

to make a sharp noise with your tongue to show that you are annoyed or disappointed:
She clicked her tongue and shook her head.

sharp tongue

if you have a sharp tongue, you often talk in a way that shows you are angry:
Gina's sharp tongue will get her into trouble one day.

silver tongue

literary if you have a silver tongue, you can talk in a way that makes people like you or persuades them that you are right

sharp-tongued/silver-tongued etc

able to talk in a very angry or pleasant way:
a sharp-tongued young teacher

with (your) tongue in (your) cheek

if you say something with your tongue in your cheek, you say it as a joke, not seriously tongue-in-cheek

slip of the tongue

a small mistake in something you say:
Did I say $100? It must have been a slip of the tongue.

bite your tongue

to stop yourself saying something because you know it would not be sensible to say it:
I wanted to argue, but I had to bite my tongue.

Cat got your tongue?

also Lost your tongue? spoken used to ask someone why they are not talking

get your tongue around something

informal to be able to say a difficult word or phrase:
I couldn't get my tongue around the names of the villages we'd visited.

trip/roll off the tongue

informal if a name or phrase trips or rolls off your tongue, it is easy or pleasant to say:
Their names trip off the tongue very easily.

loosen somebody's tongue

informal if something such as alcohol loosens your tongue, it makes you talk a lot:
The wine had certainly loosened her tongue.

find your tongue

informal to say something after you have been silent for a time because you were afraid or shy:
Polly found her tongue at last and told them about the attack.

set tongues wagging

to do something that people will talk about in an unkind way:
Angela's divorce will certainly set tongues wagging.

keep a civil tongue in your head

old-fashioned spoken used to tell someone that they should talk politely to people

speak with forked tongue

to say things that are not true - used humorously

speak in tongues

RRC to talk using strange words as part of a religious experience


literarySL a language:
Anton lapsed into his own tongue when he was excited.
mother/native tongue (=the language you learn as a child)
She felt more comfortable talking in her native tongue.


[uncountable]DF the tongue of a cow or sheep, cooked and eaten cold


[countable] something that has a long thin shape
tongue of
Huge tongues of fire were licking the side of the building.


DC [countable] the part of a shoe that lies on top of your foot, under the part where you tie it

➔ on the tip of your tongue

at tip1 (5)

; ➔ hold your tongue

at hold1 (29)

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