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tongue

noun \ ˈtəŋ \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of tongue

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 of a vehicle
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
b :feather 4
8 :a long narrow strip of land projecting into a body of water

tonguelike

play \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of tongue in a Sentence

  1. The cow ran its tongue over its lips.

  2. The taste of the spice was still on her tongue.

  3. The little girl stuck her tongue out at me.

  4. He spoke in a foreign tongue.

  5. English is my native tongue.

  6. They speak the same tongue.

  7. His sharp tongue is going to get him into trouble someday.

Recent Examples of tongue from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of tongue

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


2

tongue

verb

Definition of tongue

tongued; tonguing play \ˈtəŋ-iŋ\
transitive verb
1 :to articulate (notes) by tonguing
2 :to touch or lick with or as if with the tongue
3 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 archaic :scold
intransitive verb
1 :to articulate notes on a wind instrument by successively interrupting the stream of wind with the action of the tongue
2 :to project in a tongue

Examples of tongue in a Sentence

  1. learning how to tongue notes on the clarinet

Recent Examples of tongue from the Web

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

First Known Use of tongue

14th century


Tongue

geographical name \ ˈtəŋ \

Definition of Tongue

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

TONGUE Defined for English Language Learners

tongue

noun

Definition of tongue for English Language Learners

  • : the soft, movable part in the mouth that is used for tasting and eating food and in human beings for speaking

  • : the tongue of an animal (such as an ox or sheep) that is eaten as food

  • : a particular way or quality of speaking


tongue

verb

Definition of tongue for English Language Learners

  • : to produce separate notes when you are blowing air through a musical instrument (such as a trumpet) by using your tongue to briefly stop the flow of air

  • : to touch or lick something with your tongue


TONGUE Defined for Kids

tongue

noun \ ˈtəŋ \

Definition of tongue for Students

1 :a fleshy movable part of the mouth used in tasting, in taking and swallowing food, and by human beings in speaking
2 :a particular way or quality of speaking
  • Keep a polite tongue.
3 :language 1
  • Many tongues are spoken in a big city.
4 :something that is long and fastened at one end
  • a tongue of land
the tongue of a shoe

Medical Dictionary

tongue

noun \ ˈtəŋ \

medical Definition of tongue

: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

Illustration of tongue



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