Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: LINGUISTICS

Language: Old English
Origin: tunge

tongue

1 noun
     
tongue1 S3 W3
1

mouth

[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.
2

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.
3

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.
4

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
5

sharp-tongued/silver-tongued etc

able to talk in a very angry or pleasant way:
a sharp-tongued young teacher
6

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
7

slip of the tongue

a small mistake in something you say:
Did I say $100? It must have been a slip of the tongue.
8

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.
9

Cat got your tongue?

also Lost your tongue? spoken used to ask someone why they are not talking
10

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.
11

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.
12

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.
13

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.
14

set tongues wagging

to do something that people will talk about in an unkind way:
Angela's divorce will certainly set tongues wagging.
15

keep a civil tongue in your head

old-fashioned spoken used to tell someone that they should talk politely to people
16

speak with forked tongue

to say things that are not true - used humorously
17

speak in tongues

RRC to talk using strange words as part of a religious experience
18

language

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.
19

food

[uncountable]DF the tongue of a cow or sheep, cooked and eaten cold
20

shape

[countable] something that has a long thin shape
tongue of
Huge tongues of fire were licking the side of the building.
21

shoe

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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