- 1[countable] the soft part in the mouth that moves around, used for tasting, swallowing, speaking, etc. He clicked his tongue to attract their attention. She ran her tongue over her lips. It's very rude to stick your tongue out at people.
- 2 [uncountable, countable] the tongue of some animals, cooked and eaten a slice of ox tongue
- 3[countable] (formal or literary) a language None of the tribes speak the same tongue. I tried speaking to her in her native tongue. see also mother tongue
- 4[singular] a particular way of speaking He has a sharp tongue. (formal) I'll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your head (= speak politely). see also silver tongue
- 5-tongued (in adjectives) speaking in the way mentioned sharp-tongued
- 6 [countable] a long narrow piece of leather under the laces on a shoe
- 7[countable] tongue (of something) (literary) something that is long and narrow and shaped like a tongue a tongue of flame Idioms
nounjump to other results
said to someone, especially a child, who stays silent when expected to speak, for example after being asked a question What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?
(has the) cat got your tongue? (informal)jump to other results
to be able to speak or express your opinion
find your voice/tonguejump to other results
to pronounce a difficult word correctly He was having trouble getting his tongue around my name.
get your tongue around/round somethingjump to other results
to talk too much, especially about things that are private
have a loose tonguejump to other results
to say nothing although you would like to give your opinion
hold your tongue/peace (old-fashioned)jump to other results
used when someone says something stupid or embarrassing and immediately wishes they had not said it
I/he/she could have bitten my/his/her tongue out/offjump to other results
to make someone talk more freely than usual A bottle of wine had loosened Harry's tongue.
loosen somebody's tonguejump to other results
if a word or name is on the tip of your tongue, you are sure that you know it but you cannot remember it
on the tip of your tonguejump to other results
to be easy to say or pronounce It's not a name that exactly trips off the tongue, is it?
roll/slip/trip off the tonguejump to other results
to cause people to start talking about someone's private affairs His sudden resignation set tongues wagging.
set tongues wagging (informal)jump to other results
a small mistake in something that you write or say Did I call you Richard? Sorry, Robert, just a slip of the tongue.
a slip of the pen/tonguejump to other results
to be careful what you say in order not to offend someone or make them angry Watch your language, young man!
watch your language/mouth/tonguejump to other results
if you say something with your tongue in your cheek, you are not being serious and mean it as a joke
with your tongue in your cheek, with tongue in cheekjump to other results