tongue: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (tung), [key]
— n., v. tongued, tongu•ing.
  1. the usually movable organ in the floor of the mouth in humans and most vertebrates, functioning in eating, in tasting, and, in humans, in speaking. See diag. under mouth.
  2. an analogous organ in invertebrate animals.
  3. the tongue of an animal, as an ox, beef, or sheep, used for food, often prepared by smoking or pickling.
  4. the human tongue as the organ of speech: No tongue must ever tell the secret.
  5. the faculty or power of speech: a sight no tongue can describe.
  6. speech or talk, esp. mere glib or empty talk.
  7. manner or character of speech: a flattering tongue.
  8. the language of a particular people, region, or nation: the Hebrew tongue.
  9. a dialect.
  10. (in the Bible) a people or nation distinguished by its language.
  11. speech, often incomprehensible, typically uttered during moments of religious ecstasy. Cf. speaking in tongues, glossolalia.
  12. an object that resembles an animal's tongue in shape, position, or function.
  13. a strip of leather or other material under the lacing or fastening of a shoe.
  14. a piece of metal suspended inside a bell that strikes against the side producing a sound; clapper.
  15. a vibrating reed or similar structure in a musical instrument, as in a clarinet, or in part of a musical instrument, as in an organ reed pipe.
  16. the pole extending from a carriage or other vehicle between the animals drawing it.
  17. a projecting strip along the center of the edge or end of a board, for fitting into a groove in another board.
  18. a narrow strip of land extending into a body of water; cape.
  19. a section of ice projecting outward from the submerged part of an iceberg.
  20. a long, narrow projection on a machine.
  21. that part of a railroad switch that is shifted to direct the wheels of a locomotive or car to one or the other track of a railroad.
  22. the pin of a buckle, brooch, etc.
  23. to regain one's powers of speech; recover one's poise: She wanted to say something, but couldn't find her tongue.
  24. He wouldn't give tongue to his suspicions.
    1. Fox Hunting.(of a hound) to bay while following a scent.
    2. to utter one's thoughts; speak:He wouldn't give tongue to his suspicions.
  25. to refrain from or cease speaking; keep silent.
  26. to lose the power of speech, esp. temporarily.
  27. The answer was on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't think of it.
    1. on the verge of being uttered.
    2. unable to be recalled; barely escaping one's memory:The answer was on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't think of it.
  28. a mistake in speaking, as an inadvertent remark.
  29. ironically or mockingly; insincerely.
  1. to articulate (tones played on a clarinet, trumpet, etc.) by strokes of the tongue.
    1. to cut a tongue on (a board).
    2. to join or fit together by a tongue-and-groove joint.
  2. to touch with the tongue.
  3. to articulate or pronounce.
    1. to reproach or scold.
    2. to speak or utter.
  1. to tongue tones played on a clarinet, trumpet, etc.
  2. to talk, esp. idly or foolishly; chatter; prate.
  3. to project like a tongue.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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