- /tVN/ noun
1 MOUTH (C) the soft, moveable part inside your mouth that you use for tasting, eating, and speaking: Joe ran his tongue over his dry lips. | The dog panted, his tongue hanging out in the heat. | stick your tongue out (=put your tongue outside your mouth as a rude gesture): Kim stuck her tongue out at the teacher.2 sharp/silver/eloquent etc tongue if you have a sharp, silver etc tongue, you speak in a way that shows your anger, use beautiful language etc: Gina's sharp tongue will get her into trouble one day. | rough-tongued/sharp-tongued/silver-tongued etc (=speaking in an angry, beautiful etc way): He was clever and acid-tongued.3 tongue in cheek if you say something with your tongue in your cheek, you say it as a joke—see also: tongueincheek4 slip of the tongue a mistake in something you say: Did I say $100? It must have been a slip of the tongue.5 bite your tongue to stop yourself saying something because it is better not to: I wanted to argue but I had to bite my tongue. | bite your tongue! (=used to tell someone angrily that they should not say the type of thing they have just said)6 Cat got your tongue? also Lost your tongue? spoken used to ask someone why they are not talking7 get your tongue around informal to be able to say a difficult word or phrase: I can't get my tongue around the names of these Welsh towns.8 LANGUAGE literary a language: Anton lapsed into his own tongue when he was excited.—see also: mother tongue, native tongue native 1 (3)9 watch your tongue! spoken used to tell someone that they should not have said something rude10 FOOD (U) the tongue of a cow or sheep, cooked and eaten cold11 trip/roll off the tongue humorous if a name, phrase etc trips or rolls off your tongue, it is easy or pleasant to say: Agatha Boglewood: it doesn't exactly trip off the tongue does it?12 SHAPE (C) something that has a long thin shape(+ of): tongues of fire13 SHOE the part of a shoe that lies on top of your foot, under the part where you tie it14 loosen sb's tongue if something, such as alcohol loosens your tongue, it makes you talk a lot: Tongues loosened by drink, they told me what I needed to know.15 find your tongue to speak after being silent because you were afraid or shy: Dana finally found his tongue and told them how he'd hated his first day at school.16 hold your tongue! old-fashioned spoken used to angrily tell someone to stop speaking17 wagging tongues if you talk about tongues wagging, you mean that people are talking about someone in an unkind way: Angela's divorce will certainly set tongues wagging.18 keep a civil tongue in your head spoken used when you think someone should speak politely19 speak with forked tongue humorous to tell lies20 speak in tongues to speak using strange words as part of a religious experience21 tongue and groove joint technical a way of joining two pieces of wood—see also: on the tip of your tongue tip 1 (6), give sb the rough side of your tongue rough 1 (18)
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.