Tongue Idioms

(Greek > Latin: a peculiarity in language or special presentations)

bite one's tongue off
To be immediately sorry for what one has said. When Irene realized that Henry heard the negative things that she had said about him, she could have bitten her tongue off.
cat got one's tongue
When someone is not able or willing to talk because of shyness: The young boy had a speech to make, but apparently the cat got his tongue because he could not deliver his message.
find one's tongue
To be able to speak; especially, after a period during which one has been too afraid or too modest to talk: Shirley found her tongue agaom after she left the classroom at school with her mother.
have or to speak, with a forked tongue
To talk deceitfully, to prevaricate, or to lie: When Jake said he had to stay home because he was sick, then went to a movie, he was speaking with a forked tongue.
hold one's tongue
To be silent; to keep still; not talking. Calvin's mother told him to hold his tongue when he started to talk back to her after she scolded him for doing something wrong.
keep a civil tongue in one's head
To be polite ad to be respectful when talking to someone: The bus driver was yelling at the woman and she told him to keep a civil tongue in his head.
lose one's tongue
To be so embarrassed, or surprised, that one cannot talk; or to lose the capacity to speak because of some kind of shock: Sharon would always lose her tongue when she had to explain her reason for not eating meat.
on the tip of one's tongue
Almost able to say something; at the point of being said: Jerry told his sister, "I have the word on the tip of my tongue."
sharp tongue
The tendency to be bad-tempered or sarcastic in speech: Hank couldn't tolerate his wife's sharp tongue any longer; so, he was thinking of leaving her.
slip of the tongue
The mistake of saying something that a person had not wanted or planned to say; an error of speech: Herb would not have known Shirley's secret if she had not made a slip of the tongue.
tongue in cheek
To say something that one does not intend to be taken seriously or to be true: Mike told his girlfriend, with tongue in cheek, that she had just won the lottery.
tongue-lashing (s) (noun), tongue-lashings (pl)
A sharp scolding or criticism: Michael was given a tongue-lashing for spilling milk all over the floor.
A severe reprimand.
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tongues wag
People who speak in an excited or gossipy manner; people who spread rumors or false information: Tongues wagged when the small-town bank manager started to drive a new Mercedes limousine.
To be slow or unable to speak because of bashfulness, nervousness, or some physical malformation: Joel was tongue-tied when he was introduced to the beautiful girl.
A word or group of words which are difficult to pronounce or to say: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers," is a well-known tongue twister.