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tongs

[tawngz, tongz] /tɔŋz, tɒŋz/
noun, (usually used with a plural verb)
1.
any of various implements consisting of two arms hinged, pivoted, or otherwise fastened together, for seizing, holding, or lifting something (usually used with pair of).
Origin of tongs
see tong1
Can be confused
thongs, tongs, tongues.

tong1

[tawng, tong] /tɔŋ, tɒŋ/
noun
1.
verb (used with object)
2.
to lift, seize, gather, hold, or handle with tongs, as logs or oysters.
verb (used without object)
3.
to use, or work with, tongs.
Origin
before 900; 1865-70, for def 2; Middle English tong(e) (singular), tongen, tonges (plural), Old English; cognate with Dutch tang, German Zange pair of tongs or pincers; akin to Greek dáknein to bite
Related forms
tonger, noun
Can be confused
thong, tong, tongue.

tong2

[tawng, tong] /tɔŋ, tɒŋ/
noun
1.
(in China) an association, society, or political party.
2.
(among Chinese living in the U.S.) a fraternal or secret society, often associated with criminal activities.
Origin
1880-85, Americanism; < dialectal Chinese (Guangdong) tòhng, akin to Chinese táng meeting hall
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for tongs

tongs

/tɒŋz/
plural noun
1.
a tool for grasping or lifting, consisting of a hinged, sprung, or pivoted pair of arms or levers, joined at one end Also called pair of tongs
Word Origin
plural of Old English tange; related to Old Saxon tanga, Old High German zanga, Old Norse tong

tong1

/tɒŋ/
verb (transitive)
1.
to gather or seize with tongs
2.
to curl or style (hair) with curling tongs

tong2

/tɒŋ/
noun
1.
(formerly) a Chinese secret society or association, esp one popularly assumed to engage in criminal activities
Word Origin
C20: from Chinese (Cantonese) t'ong meeting place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tongs
n.

Old English tange, tang "tongs," from Proto-Germanic *tango (cf. Old Saxon tanga, Old Norse töng, Swedish tång, Old Frisian tange, Middle Dutch tanghe, Dutch tang, Old High German zanga, German Zange), literally "that which bites," from PIE root *dank- "bite" (cf. Sanskrit dasati "biter;" Greek daknein "to bite," dax "biting"). For sense evolution, cf. French mordache "tongs," from mordre "to bite."

Tong

"Chinese secret society," 1883, from Cantonese t'ong "assembly hall."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with tongs

tong

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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6
8
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