tongue noun

1 soft part inside the mouth

ADJ. forked | loose, sharp (both figurative) Everyone knows now, thanks to Ken's loose tongue (= he could not keep the secret). She could tear a character to pieces in three minutes with her sharp tongue.

VERB + TONGUE poke/put/stick out It's very rude to stick your tongue out at people. | run He ran his tongue nervously over his lips. | click/cluck | bite, hold (both figurative) She was dying to say something sarcastic to him, but bit her tongue and stayed silent. | free, loosen (both figurative) The wine had loosened his tongue. | roll/slip/trip off It's not a name that exactly trips off the tongue (= is easy to say).

TONGUE + VERB hang out The dog lay in a patch of shade with its tongue hanging out. | flick, flicker The snake's tongue flicked out of its mouth. | lick sth His tongue licked dry lips. | wag (figurative) This is a small island and tongues are beginning to wag (= people are beginning to gossip). | find (figurative) Before she could find her tongue (= speak) the door had closed behind him. | watch (figurative) You just watch your tongue (= be careful what you say)!

PHRASES be on the tip of your tongue (figurative) It was on the tip of her tongue to refuse. | get your tongue around/round sth (figurative) He was having trouble getting his tongue around my name. | a tongue of fire/flame (figurative) Tongues of flame licked up the walls.

2 a language

ADJ. mother, native She speaks English and Danish, though her native tongue is German. | foreign | strange

PREP. in a/the ~ She could hear men whispering in a foreign tongue.

PHRASES speak in tongues (= to speak in unknown languages, especially at a religious ceremony)