Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Tongue noun [ Middle English tunge , tonge , Anglo-Saxon tunge ; akin to OFries. tunge , Dutch tong , Old Saxon tunga , German zunge , Old High German zunga , Icelandic & Swedish tunga , Dan tunge , Goth. tuggō , OL. dingua , Latin lingua . √243 Confer Language , Lingo . ]


1. (Anat.) an organ situated in the floor of the mouth of most vertebrates and connected with the hyoid arch.

» The tongue is usually muscular, mobile, and free at one extremity, and in man other mammals is the principal organ of taste, aids in the prehension of food, in swallowing, and in modifying the voice as in speech.

To make his English sweet upon his tongue .
Chaucer.

2. The power of articulate utterance; speech.

Parrots imitating human tongue .
Dryden.

3. Discourse; fluency of speech or expression.

Much tongue and much judgment seldom go together.
Latin Estrange.

4. Honorable discourse; eulogy. [ Obsolete]

She was born noble; let that title find her a private grave, but neither tongue nor honor.
Beau. & Fl.

5. A language; the whole sum of words used by a particular nation; as, the English tongue . Chaucer.

Whose tongue thou shalt not understand.
Deut. xxviii. 49.

To speak all tongues .
Milton.

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

My little children, let us love in word, neither in tongue , but in deed and in truth.
1 John iii. 18.

7. A people having a distinct language.

A will gather all nations and tongues .
Isa. lxvi. 18.

8. (Zoology) (a) The lingual ribbon, or odontophore, of a mollusk. (b) The proboscis of a moth or a butterfly. (c) The lingua of an insect.

9. (Zoology) Any small sole.

10. That which is considered as resembing an animal's tongue, in position or form. Specifically: --

(a) A projection, or slender appendage or fixture; as, the tongue of a buckle, or of a balance.

(b) A projection on the side, as of a board, which fits into a groove.

(c) A point, or long, narrow strip of land, projecting from the mainland into a sea or a lake.

(d) The pole of a vehicle; especially, the pole of an ox cart, to the end of which the oxen are yoked.

(e) The clapper of a bell.

(f) (Nautical) A short piece of rope spliced into the upper part of standing backstays, etc.; also. the upper main piece of a mast composed of several pieces.

(g) (Mus.) Same as Reed , noun , 5.

To hold the tongue , to be silent. -- Tongue bone (Anat.) , the hyoid bone. -- Tongue grafting . See under Grafting .

Syn. -- Language; speech; expression. See Language .

Tongue transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Tongued ; present participle & verbal noun Tonguing .]
1. To speak; to utter. "Such stuff as madmen tongue ." Shak.

2. To chide; to scold.

How might she tongue me.
Shak.

3. (Mus.) To modulate or modify with the tongue, as notes, in playing the flute and some other wind instruments.

4. To join means of a tongue and grove; as, to tongue boards together.

Tongue intransitive verb
1. To talk; to prate. Dryden.

2. (Mus.) To use the tongue in forming the notes, as in playing the flute and some other wind instruments.

Tongue-pad noun A great talker. [ Obsolete]

Tongue-shaped adjective Shaped like a tongue; specifically (Botany) , linear or oblong, and fleshy, blunt at the end, and convex beneath; as, a tongue-shaped leaf.

Tongue-shell noun Any species of Lingula.

Tongue-tie noun (Medicine) Impeded motion of the tongue because of the shortness of the frænum, or of the adhesion of its margins to the gums. Dunglison.

Tongue-tie transitive verb To deprive of speech or the power of speech, or of distinct articulation.

Tongue-tied adjective
1. Destitute of the power of distinct articulation; having an impediment in the speech, esp. when caused by a short frænum.

2. Unable to speak freely, from whatever cause.

Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity.
Shak.

Tonguebird noun The wryneck. [ Prov. Eng.]

Tongued adjective Having a tongue.

Tongued like the night crow.
Donne.

Tonguefish noun (Zoology) A flounder ( Symphurus plagiusa ) native of the southern coast of the United States.

Tongueless adjective
1. Having no tongue.

2. Hence, speechless; mute. "What tongueless blocks were they! would they not speak?" Shak.

3. Unnamed; not spoken of. [ Obsolete]

One good deed dying tongueless .
Shak.

Tonguelet noun A little tongue.

Tonguester noun One who uses his tongue; a talker; a story-teller; a gossip. [ Poetic.]

Step by step we rose to greatness; through the tonguesters we may fall.
Tennyson.

Tongueworm noun (Zoology) Any species of Linguatulina.

Tonguing verbal noun (Music) Modification of tone for a rapid staccato effect by the performer's tongue, in playing a wind instrument, as a flute. In single tonguing only one kind of stroke is used, the tongue articulating a rapid "t;" in double tonguing , two strokes, as for "t" and "k," are alternated; in triple tonguing , "t, k, t," etc.

Tonguy adjective Ready or voluble in speaking; as, a tonguy speaker. [ Written also tonguey .] [ Colloq.]

Tonic adjective [ Confer French tonigue , Greek .... See Tone .]
1. Of or relating to tones or sounds; specifically (Phon.) , applied to, or distingshing, a speech sound made with tone unmixed and undimmed by obstruction, such sounds, namely, the vowels and diphthongs, being so called by Dr. James Rush (1833) " from their forming the purest and most plastic material of intonation."

2. Of or pertaining to tension; increasing tension; hence, increasing strength; as, tonic power.

3. (Medicine) Increasing strength, or the tone of the animal system; obviating the effects of debility, and restoring healthy functions.

Tonic spasm . (Medicine) See the Note under Spasm .

Tonic noun [ Confer French tonique , New Latin tonicum .]
1. (Phon.) A tonic element or letter; a vowel or a diphthong.

2. (Mus.) The key tone, or first tone of any scale.

3. (Medicine) A medicine that increases the strength, and gives vigor of action to the system.

Tonic sol-fa (Mus.) , the name of the most popular among letter systems of notation (at least in England), based on key relationship, and hence called "tonic." Instead of the five lines, clefs, signature, etc., of the usual notation, it employs letters and the syllables do , re , mi , etc., variously modified, with other simple signs of duration, of upper or lower octave, etc. See Sol- fa .

Tonic adjective (Medicine) Characterized by continuous muscular contraction; as, tonic convulsions.

Tonical adjective Tonic. [ R.] Sir T. Browne.

Tonicity noun (Physiol.) The state of healthy tension or partial contraction of muscle fibers while at rest; tone; tonus.

Tonight adverb [ Prep. to + night ]
1. On this present or coming night.

2. On the last night past. [ Obsolete] Shak.

Tonight noun The present or the coming night; the night after the present day.

Tonite noun [ Confer L. tonare to thunder.] An explosive compound; a preparation of gun cotton.

Tonka bean [ Confer French onca , tonka .] (Botany) The seed of a leguminous tree ( Dipteryx odorata ), native of Guiana. It has a peculiarly agreeable smell, and is employed in the scenting of snuff. Called also tonquin bean . [ Written also tonca bean , tonga bean .]

Tonnage noun [ From Ton a measure.]


1. The weight of goods carried in a boat or a ship.

2. The cubical content or burden of a vessel, or vessels, in tons; or, the amount of weight which one or several vessels may carry. See Ton , noun (b) .

A fleet . . . with an aggregate tonnage of 60,000 seemed sufficient to conquer the world.
Motley.

3. A duty or impost on vessels, estimated per ton, or, a duty, toll, or rate payable on goods per ton transported on canals.

4. The whole amount of shipping estimated by tons; as, the tonnage of the United States. See Ton .

» There are in common use the following terms relating to tonnage: ( a ) Displacement. ( b ) Register tonnage, gross and net. ( c ) Freight tonnage. ( d ) Builders' measurement. ( e ) Yacht measurement. The first is mainly used for war vessels, where the total weight is likely to be nearly constant. The second is the most important, being that used for commercial purposes. The third and fourth are different rules for ascertaining the actual burden-carrying power of a vessel, and the fifth is for the proper classification of pleasure craft. Gross tonnage expresses the total cubical interior of a vessel; net tonnage , the cubical space actually available for freight- carrying purposes. Rules for ascertaining these measurements are established by law.

Tonne noun A tun. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Tonne noun [ French] A metric ton.

Tonneau noun ; plural Tonneaux . [ French]
1. In France, a light-wheeled vehicle with square or rounded body and rear entrance.

2. (Automobiles) Orig., the after part of the body with entrance at the rear (as in vehicle in def. 1); now, one with sides closing in the seat or seats and entered by a door usually at the side, also, the entire body of an automobile having such an after part.

3. = Tonne .

Tonnihood noun (Zoology) The female of the bullfinch; -- called also tonyhoop . [ Prov. Eng.]

Tonnish (tŏn"nĭsh) adjective In the ton; fashionable; modish. -- Ton"nish*ness , noun

Tonometer noun [ Greek ... a stretching, a tone + -meter .]
1. (Physics.) An instrument for determining the rate of vibrations in tones.

2. (Physiol.) (a) An apparatus for studying and registering the action of various fluids and drugs on the excised heart of lower animals. (b) An instrument for measuring tension, esp. that of the eyeball.

Tonometry noun The act of measuring with a tonometer; specifically (Medicine) , measurement of tension, esp. the tension of the eyeball.

Tonophant (tōn"o*f a nt) noun [ Greek to`nos a tone + fai`nein to show.] (Physics.) A modification of the kaleidophon, for showing composition of acoustic vibrations. It consists of two thin slips of steel welded together, their length being adjystable by a screw socket.

Tonous adjective Abounding in tone or sound.

Tonquin bean (tŏ&nsmac;"kĭn bēn). See Tonka bean .

Tonsil noun [ Latin tonsill ..., plural: confer French tonsille . ] (Anat.) One of the two glandular organs situated in the throat at the sides of the fauces. The tonsils are sometimes called the almonds , from their shape.

Tonsilar adjective (Anat.) Of or pertaining to the tonsils; tonsilitic. [ Written also tonsillar .]

Tonsile adjective [ Latin tonsilis , from tondere , tonsum , to shear, clip. See Tonsure . ] Capable of being clipped.

Tonsilitic adjective (Anat.) Tonsilar. [ Written also tonsillitic .]

Tonsilitis noun [ New Latin See Tonsil , and -itis .] (Medicine) Inflammation of the tonsil; quinsy. [ Written also, and more usually, tonsillitis .]

Tonsilotome noun [ Tonsil + Greek te`mnein to cut.] (Surg.) An instrument for removing the tonsils.

Tonsilotomy noun (Surg.) The operation of removing the tonsil, or a portion thereof.

Tonsor noun [ Latin ] A barber. Sir W. Scott.

Tonsorial adjective [ Latin tonsorius , from tonsor a shearer, barber, from tondere , tonsum , to shear. See Tonsure .] Of or pertaining to a barber, or shaving.

Tonsure noun [ French, from Latin tonsura a shearing, clipping, from tondere , tonsum , to shear, shave; confer Greek ... to gnaw; perhaps akin to Greek ... to cut, and English tome .]
1. The act of clipping the hair, or of shaving the crown of the head; also, the state of being shorn.

2. (R. C. Ch.) (a) The first ceremony used for devoting a person to the service of God and the church; the first degree of the clericate, given by a bishop, abbot, or cardinal priest, consisting in cutting off the hair from a circular space at the back of the head, with prayers and benedictions; hence, entrance or admission into minor orders. (b) The shaven corona, or crown, which priests wear as a mark of their order and of their rank.

Tonsured adjective Having the tonsure; shaven; shorn; clipped; hence, bald.

A tonsured head in middle age forlorn.
Tennyson.

Tontine noun [ French, from Italian tontina ; -- so called from its inventor, Tonti , an Italian, of the 17th century.] An annuity, with the benefit of survivorship, or a loan raised on life annuities with the benefit of survivorship. Thus, an annuity is shared among a number, on the principle that the share of each, at his death, is enjoyed by the survivors, until at last the whole goes to the last survivor, or to the last two or three, according to the terms on which the money is advanced. Used also adjectively; as, tontine insurance.

Too many of the financiers by professions are apt to see nothing in revenue but banks, and circulations, and annuities on lives, and tontines , and perpetual rents, and all the small wares of the shop.
Burke.