Tongue: Body Part and Language

(the "tongue" term may be applied to both a body part in the mouth and an extensive reference to "language")

Proverbs about the "tongue"

A good tongue is a good weapon.

Under the tongue men are crushed to death.

The tongue breaks bone, and herself has none.

The tongue stings.

The tongue is more venomous than a serpent's sting.

The tongue is not steel yet it cuts.

It is a good tongue that says no ill, and a better heart that thinks none.

What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks.

It is better to play with the ears than the tongue.

The tongue of idle persons is never still.

A woman's sword is her tongue, and she does not let it rust.

A woman's strength is in her tongue.

A woman's tongue is the last thing about her that dies.

He speaks with a forked tongue.
—American Indian reference to someone who is not telling the truth

Better to slip with the foot than with the tongue.

tongue, a body part
1. A muscular organ on the floor of the mouth which aids in chewing, swallowing, and speech, and is the location of the taste buds, the organs of the sense of taste.

The taste buds are located in the papillae (puh PILL ee), which are projections, or bumps, on the upper surface of the tongue that sense flavors; such as, bitter, sweet, salty, and sour.

2. The movable fleshy organ attached to the bottom of the inside of the mouth of humans and most animals, used for tasting, licking, swallowing, and, in humans, speech.

As stated previously, the tongue is a strong muscle anchored to the floor of the mouth. It is covered by the lingual membrane which has special areas to detect tastes.

The tongue is attached to the lower jaw and to the hyoid bone (a small, U-shaped bone that lies deep in the muscles at the back of the tongue) above the larynx.

Again, as defined above, on the top surface of the tongue there are small nodules called papillae that give the tongue its rough texture.

Between the papillae at the sides and base of the tongue, there are small bulb-like structures that are the taste buds. The muscle fibers of the tongue are heavily supplied with nerves.

The tongue aids in the formation of the sounds of speech and coordinates its movements to aid in swallowing.

The adjective for tongue is "lingual"; so, the papillae of the tongue are the lingual papillae.

For more extensive information about the various applications of the tongue, visit this Tongue: How it Works unit.

Cross references of word families related directly, or indirectly, to: "talk, speak, speech; words, language; tongue, etc.": cit-; clam-; dic-; fa-; -farious; glosso-; glotto-; lalo-; linguo-; locu-; logo-; loqu-; mythico-; -ology; ora-; -phasia; -phemia; phon-; phras-; Quotes: Language,Part 1; Quotes: Language, Part 2; Quotes: Language, Part 3; serm-; voc-.