tongue

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: a fleshy movable muscular process of the floor of the mouths of most vertebrates that bears sensory end organs and small glands and functions especially in taking and swallowing food and in humans as a speech organ
b
: a part of various invertebrate animals that is analogous to the tongue
2
: the flesh of a tongue (as of the ox or sheep) used as food
3
a
: language
especially : a spoken language
b
: manner or quality of utterance with respect to tone or sound, the sense of what is expressed, or the intention of the speaker
she has a clever tongue
a sharp tongue
c
: ecstatic, typically unintelligible utterance occurring especially in a moment of religious excitation
usually plural
It would be like the miracle described in the Acts of the Apostles, demonstrated with healing, speaking in tongues and other signs and wonders.Dan Wakefield
… where they can sing and shriek and talk in tongues and testify and have a part.Jane Kramer
d
: the cry of or as if of a hound pursuing or in sight of game
used especially in the phrase to give tongue
4
: the power of communication through speech
5
: a tapering flame
tongues of fire
6
: something resembling an animal's tongue in being elongated and fastened at one end only: such as
a
: the flap under the lacing or buckles of a shoe at the throat of the vamp
b
: a movable pin in a buckle
c
: a metal ball suspended inside a bell so as to strike against the sides as the bell is swung
d
: the pole (see pole entry 1 sense 1b) of a vehicle (such as a wagon)
7
a
: the rib on one edge of a board that fits into a corresponding groove in an edge of another board to make a flush joint
8
: a long narrow strip of land projecting into a body of water
tonguelike adjective

tongue

2 of 2

verb

tongued; tonguing ˈtəŋ-iŋ How to pronounce tongue (audio) ; tongues
1
transitive + intransitive music : to articulate (notes on a wind instrument) by successively interrupting the stream of wind with the action of the tongue
Playing [the bugle] and tonguing the note and making it come out exactly spot-on, that takes a technique and a skill.Bethann Dixon
2
transitive : to touch or lick (something) with the tongue
cows tonguing the long grass
3
transitive, carpentry
a
: to cut a tongue on
tongue a board
b
: to join (parts, such as boards) by means of a tongue and groove
tongue flooring together
4

Examples of tongue in a Sentence

Noun The cow ran its tongue over its lips. The taste of the spice was still on her tongue. The little girl stuck her tongue out at me. He spoke in a foreign tongue. English is my native tongue. They speak the same tongue. His sharp tongue is going to get him into trouble someday. Verb learning how to tongue notes on the clarinet
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The slips of the tongue would normally go mostly unnoticed. Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2024 The concern that if former President Donald Trump wins in November America will descend into fascism pervades many leading publications, resides atop numerous bestseller lists, and sits on the tip of many prominent tongues. Kendra Stanton Lee, Newsweek, 9 July 2024
Verb
His tongued lolled out of his mouth and his eyes remained open. Jenelle Riley, Variety, 23 Feb. 2024 No way out of this pit where the sun shatters into shards tongued between teeth. Hazlitt, 17 May 2023 See all Example Sentences for tongue 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English tunge, from Old English; akin to Old High German zunga tongue, Latin lingua

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of tongue was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near tongue

Cite this Entry

“Tongue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tongue. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

tongue

1 of 2 noun
1
: a fleshy movable muscular part of the floor of the mouth of most vertebrates that has sensory organs (as taste buds) and small glands and functions especially in taking and swallowing food and in human beings as a speech organ
2
: the flesh of a tongue (as of beef) used as food
3
: the power of communication : speech
4
5
: something resembling a tongue (as in being long and fastened at one end)
tongueless
-ləs
adjective
tonguelike adjective

tongue

2 of 2 verb
tongued; tonguing ˈtəŋ-iŋ How to pronounce tongue (audio)
1
: to touch or lick with or as if with the tongue
2
: to separate individual notes when playing a wind instrument by interrupting the stream of wind with the tongue

Medical Definition

tongue

noun
: a process of the floor of the mouth that is attached basally to the hyoid bone, that consists essentially of a mass of extrinsic muscle attaching its base to other parts, intrinsic muscle by which parts of the structure move in relation to each other, and an epithelial covering rich in sensory end organs and small glands, and that functions especially in taking and swallowing food and as a speech organ

Geographical Definition

Tongue

geographical name

river 246 miles (396 kilometers) long in northern Wyoming and southern Montana flowing north into the Yellowstone River

More from Merriam-Webster on tongue

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