lose their tongue


Anatomy. the usually movable organ in the floor of the mouth in humans and most vertebrates, functioning in eating, in tasting, and, in humans, in speaking. See diag. under mouth.
Zoology. an analogous organ in invertebrate animals.
the tongue of an animal, as an ox, beef, or sheep, used for food, often prepared by smoking or pickling.
the human tongue as the organ of speech: No tongue must ever tell the secret.
the faculty or power of speech: a sight no tongue can describe.
speech or talk, especially mere glib or empty talk.
manner or character of speech: a flattering tongue.
the language of a particular people, region, or nation: the hebrew tongue.
a dialect.
(in the Bible) a people or nation distinguished by its language.
tongues, speech, often incomprehensible, typically uttered during moments of religious ecstasy. Compare speaking in tongues, glossolalia.
an object that resembles an animal's tongue in shape, position, or function.
a strip of leather or other material under the lacing or fastening of a shoe.
a piece of metal suspended inside a bell that strikes against the side producing a sound; clapper.
a vibrating reed or similar structure in a musical instrument, as in a clarinet, or in part of a musical instrument, as in an organ reed pipe.
the pole extending from a carriage or other vehicle between the animals drawing it.
a projecting strip along the center of the edge or end of a board, for fitting into a groove in another board.
a narrow strip of land extending into a body of water; cape.
a section of ice projecting outward from the submerged part of an iceberg.
Machinery. a long, narrow projection on a machine.
that part of a railroad switch that is shifted to direct the wheels of a locomotive or car to one or the other track of a railroad.
the pin of a buckle, brooch, etc.
verb (used with object), tongued, tonguing.
to articulate (tones played on a clarinet, trumpet, etc.) by strokes of the tongue.
to cut a tongue on (a board).
to join or fit together by a tongue-and-groove joint.
to touch with the tongue.
to articulate or pronounce.
to reproach or scold.
to speak or utter.
verb (used without object), tongued, tonguing.
to tongue tones played on a clarinet, trumpet, etc.
to talk, especially idly or foolishly; chatter; prate.
to project like a tongue.
find one's tongue, to regain one's powers of speech; recover one's poise: She wanted to say something, but couldn't find her tongue.
give tongue,
Fox Hunting. (of a hound) to bay while following a scent.
to utter one's thoughts; speak: He wouldn't give tongue to his suspicions.
hold one's tongue, to refrain from or cease speaking; keep silent.
lose one's tongue, to lose the power of speech, especially temporarily.
on the tip of one's/the tongue,
on the verge of being uttered.
unable to be recalled; barely escaping one's memory: The answer was on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't think of it.
slip of the tongue, a mistake in speaking, as an inadvertent remark.
(with) tongue in cheek, ironically or mockingly; insincerely.

before 900; (noun) Middle English tunge, Old English; cognate with Dutch tong, German Zunge, Old Norse tunga, Gothic tuggo; akin to Latin lingua (OL dingua); (v.) Middle English tungen to scold, derivative of the noun

tongueless, adjective
tonguelike, adjective
outtongue, verb (used with object), outtongued, outtonguing.
untongued, adjective

thong, tong, tongue.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tongue (tʌŋ)
1.  a movable mass of muscular tissue attached to the floor of the mouth in most vertebrates. It is the organ of taste and aids the mastication and swallowing of food. In man it plays an important part in the articulation of speech soundsRelated: glottic, lingual
2.  an analogous organ in invertebrates
3.  the tongue of certain animals used as food
4.  a language, dialect, or idiom: the English tongue
5.  the ability to speak: to lose one's tongue
6.  a manner of speaking: a glib tongue
7.  utterance or voice (esp in the phrase give tongue)
8.  (plural) See gift of tongues
9.  anything which resembles a tongue in shape or function: a tongue of flame; a tongue of the sea
10.  a promontory or spit of land
11.  a flap of leather on a shoe, either for decoration or under the laces or buckles to protect the instep
12.  music the reed of an oboe or similar instrument
13.  the clapper of a bell
14.  the harnessing pole of a horse-drawn vehicle
15.  a long and narrow projection on a machine or structural part that serves as a guide for assembly or as a securing device
16.  a projecting strip along an edge of a board that is made to fit a corresponding groove in the edge of another board
17.  hold one's tongue to keep quiet
18.  on the tip of one's tongue about to come to mind: her name was on the tip of his tongue
19.  with one's tongue in one's cheek, tongue in cheek with insincere or ironical intent
vb , tongues, tonguing, tongued
20.  to articulate (notes played on a wind instrument) by the process of tonguing
21.  (tr) to lick, feel, or touch with the tongue
22.  (tr) carpentry to provide (a board) with a tongue
23.  (intr) (of a piece of land) to project into a body of water
24.  obsolete (tr) to reproach; scold
Related: glottic, lingual
[Old English tunge; related to Old Saxon, Old Norse tunga, Old High German zunga, Latin lingua]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. tunge "organ of speech, speech, language," from P.Gmc. *tungon (cf. O.S., O.N. tunga, O.Fris. tunge, M.Du. tonghe, Du. tong, O.H.G. zunga, Ger. Zunge, Goth. tuggo), from PIE *dnghwa- (cf. L. lingua "tongue, speech, language," from Old L. dingua; O.Ir. tenge, Welsh tafod, Lith. liezuvis, O.C.S.
jezyku). The substitution of M.E. -o- for O.E. -u- before -m- or -n- was a scribal habit (cf. some, monk, etc.) to avoid misreading the letters in the old style hand, which jammed them together; and the spelling of the ending of the word apparently is a 14c. attempt to indicate proper pronunciation, but the result is "neither etymological nor phonetic, and is only in a very small degree historical" [OED]. Meaning "foreign language" is from 1535. The verb meaning "to touch with the tongue, lick" is attested from 1687. Tongue-tied is first recorded 1529; tongue-in-cheek (adj.) is recorded from 1933, from phrase to speak with one's tongue in one's cheek "to speak insincerely" (1748), which somehow must have been suggestive of sly irony or humorous insincerity, but the exact notion is obscure.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

tongue (tŭng)
A mobile mass of muscular tissue that is covered with mucous membrane, occupies much of the cavity of the mouth, forms part of its floor, bears the organ of taste, and assists in chewing, swallowing, and speech.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
tongue   (tŭng)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A muscular organ in most vertebrates that is usually attached to the bottom of the mouth. In snakes, the tongue is used as a sense organ. In frogs, the tongue is chiefly used to capture prey. In mammals, the tongue is the main organ of taste and is an important organ of digestion. In humans, the tongue is used to produce speech.

  2. A similar organ in certain invertebrate animals.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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