ETYM Old Eng. tunge, tonge, AS. tunge; akin to OFries. tunge, Dutch tong, OS. tunga, German zunge, Old High Germ. zunga, Icel. and Swed. tunga, Dan tunge, Goth. tuggô, OL. dingua, Latin lingua. Cf.Language, Lingo.
1. A mobile mass of muscular tissue covered with mucous membrane and located in the oral cavity; SYN. lingua, glossa, clapper.
In tetrapod vertebrates, a muscular organ usually attached to the floor of the mouth. It has a thick root attached to a U-shaped bone (hyoid), and is covered with a mucous membrane containing nerves and taste buds. It is the main organ of taste. The tongue directs food to the teeth and into the throat for chewing and swallowing. In humans, it is crucial for speech; in other animals, for lapping up water and for grooming, among other functions. In some animals, such as frogs, it can be flipped forward to catch insects; in others, such as anteaters, it serves to reach for food found in deep holes.
The hyoid apparatus, to which the tongue is attached, is formed from what were gill supports in fishes.
2. The tongue of certain animals used as meat.
3. The flap of material under the laces of a shoe or boot.
4. Any long thin projection that is transient; SYN. knife.
5. A manner of speaking.
6. A language.
1. To articulate by tonguing, as on wind instruments.
2. To lick or explore with the tongue.