American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


TONGUE, TUNG, noun [Ant. Latin lingua; digitus and dug. Our common orthography is incorrect; the true spelling is tung ]

1. In man, the instrument of taste, and the chief instrument of speech; and in other animals, the instrument of taste. It is also an instrument of deglutition. In some animals, the tongue is used for drawing the food into the mouth, as in animals of the bovine genus, etc. Other animals lap their drink, as dogs.

The tongue is covered with membranes, and the outer one is full of papillae of a pyramidical figure, under which lies a thin, soft, reticular coat perforated with innumerable holes, and always lined with a thick and white or yellowish mucus.

2. Speech; discourse; sometimes, fluency of speech.

Much tongue and much judgment seldom go together.

3. The power of articulate utterance; speech.

Parrots imitating human tongue.

4. Speech, as well or ill used; mode of speaking.

Keep a good tongue in thy head.

The tongue of the wise is health. Proverbs 12:18.

5. A language; the whole sum of words used by a particular nation. The English tongue, within two hundred years, will probably be spoken by two or three hundred millions of people in North America.

6. Speech; words or declarations only; opposed to thoughts or actions.

Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18.

7. A nation, as distinguished by their language.

I will gather all nations and tongues. Isaiah 66:18.

8. A point; a projection; as the tongue of a buckle or of a balance.

9. A point or long narrow strip of land, projecting from the main into a sea or a lake.

10. The taper part of any thing; in the rigging of a ship, a short piece of rope spliced into the upper part of standing backstays, etc. to the size of the mast-head.

To hold the tongue, to be silent.


TUNG, verb transitive To chide; to scold.

How might she tongue me.


TUNG, verb intransitive To talk; to prate.