\ ˈtäŋ How to pronounce tong (audio) , ˈtȯŋ\

Definition of tong

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a secret society or fraternal organization especially of Chinese in the U.S. formerly notorious for gang warfare


tonged; tonging; tongs

Definition of tong (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to use tongs especially in taking or gathering something

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Other Words from tong


tonger \ ˈtäŋ-​ər How to pronounce tonger (audio) , ˈtȯŋ-​ \ noun

Examples of tong in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For a weekend stay, something more deluxe, like a case of wine or tortoiseshell salad tongs. Ali Wentworth, Town & Country, "The Wisdom of Muffie," 7 Jan. 2013 When air frying larger or delicate foods, use tongs to lift them out of the fryer basket. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Air Fryers for Making Crispy Comfort Foods So Much Healthier," 20 Nov. 2018 Vaszocz-Williams, along with several coworkers, grabbed snake handling tongs to safely remove the reptile from the door. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Texas man shocked as 7-foot snake wrapped around front door grille moves in for a 'closer look'," 25 May 2018 David Gilbert tongs oysters from the cat point oyster reef in Apalachicola Bay, subject of a Supreme Court case argued Monday. Robert Barnes, Washington Post, "Supreme Court justices wade into Florida-Georgia water fight," 8 Jan. 2018 Be sure to provide knives, spoons, small tongs, toothpicks and other tools to let people serve themselves. Becky Krystal, charlotteobserver, "How to build the ultimate cheese board," 5 June 2018 Pour a little oil on a rag, grab the rag with tongs, and rub the oil onto the grill grates to prevent sticking. 2. Louisa Chu,, "Change Memorial Day grilling lineup with charred greens, savory kebabs," 21 May 2018 Suction cups or oversized tongs attached to the arms snag cans, glass, plastic containers, and other recyclable items out of the rubbish and flick them into nearby bins. Bryn Nelson /, NBC News, "How robots are reshaping one of the dirtiest, most dangerous jobs," 17 Apr. 2018 Use dry, heat-proof tongs or wooden chopsticks to transfer dredged chicken pieces to hot oil, taking care not to splash and making sure pot is not overcrowded. Gabriella Gershenson, WSJ, "The Greatest New Year’s Menus on the Planet (at Least We Think So)," 26 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Later than evening, her long hair was tonged into glamorous loose waves for a garden party hosted by the British Ambassador to Ireland., "Meghan Markle Has a New Hairdresser in Her Glam Squad and His Signature Look Is 'Perfect for Her'," 12 July 2018 Oystermen spent a month tonging up millions of adult oysters and moving them to the new location. Ben Raines,, "Can 100 trillion oyster eggs save Mobile Bay?," 24 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tong.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tong


1883, in the meaning defined above


1868, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for tong


Chinese (Guangdong) tòhng, literally, hall



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Dictionary Entries near tong

tone wheel






tonga bean

Statistics for tong

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tong

The first known use of tong was in 1868

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More from Merriam-Webster on tong

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tong

Comments on tong

What made you want to look up tong? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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