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ˈtäŋ How to pronounce tong (audio)
: a secret society or fraternal organization especially of Chinese in the U.S. formerly notorious for gang warfare


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tonged; tonging; tongs

transitive verb

: to take, gather, hold, or handle with tongs
tong oysters

intransitive verb

: to use tongs especially in taking or gathering something
ˈtäŋ-ər How to pronounce tong (audio)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
What's a tong? Marisa Sullivan, Peoplemag, 19 Dec. 2022 Using tongs, pull away the loose pieces of skin and any fat that comes with them and discard them. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 7 Apr. 2023 After 10 minutes, open the air fryer, and rotate the wings using tongs. Isadora Baum, Men's Health, 5 Apr. 2023 In the 19th century, violent wars between tongs drew extensive news coverage. Anh Do, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2023 When in doubt, undercook them a tiny bit.) Remove the ramekins with tongs or a spatula, transfer to a plate, sprinkle with chives, and serve with the croutons on the side. Katie Hill, Outdoor Life, 28 Mar. 2023 If your chops have a fat cap, using tongs, stand the chops up on their narrow sides, fat side down, and sear until crisp, about 1 minute. Ali Slagle, Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2023 Using tongs, toss well to combine for 2 to 3 minutes. Place in a serving bowl. Amisha Gurbani, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 Mar. 2023 Then, use grill tongs to wipe a cleaning towel over the hot surface to soak up any leftover water and remove the remaining food bits. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Mar. 2023
His business is quite a bit different from that of traditional watermen, who tong the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries for wild oysters. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tong.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Chinese (Guangdong) tòhng, literally, hall



First Known Use


1883, in the meaning defined above


1868, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of tong was in 1868

Dictionary Entries Near tong

Cite this Entry

“Tong.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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