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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Idioms relating to the tongue  
from:  'bite your tongue'   to:  'silger-tongued'

  • bite your tongue
    • If you bite your tongue, you stop yourself from saying what you really think.
      "Sam decided to bite his tongue rather than get into an argument."

  • get your tongue round something
    • If you are able to pronounce a difficult word or phrase, you can get your tongue round it.
      "She's from the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. Try getting your tongue round that!"

  • give the (rough) edge of your tongue
    • If you give the (rough) edge of your tongue, you scold someone severely or speak to them very aggressively or rudely.
      "My boss was so angry that I really got the rough edge of his tongue."

  • hold your tongue
    • If you hold your tongue, you stay silent and say nothing.
      "The party was supposed to be a surprise, but unfortunately the little boy couldn't hold his tongue."

  • keep a civil tongue
    • People who keep a civil tongue express themselves in polite terms.
      "Don't speak so rudely! You must learn to keep a civil tongue in all circumstances."

  • (a) slip of the tongue
    • A slip of the tongue is a small spoken error or mistake.
      "Did I say 'blow down'? - Sorry, I meant 'slow down' - that was a slip of the tongue!"

  • on the tip of your tongue
    • To say that a word or answer is on the tip of your tongue, means that you're sure you know it but have difficulty finding it.
      "What's that actor's name? I know it ... it's on the tip of my tongue!"

  • tongue in cheek
    • If you describe a remark as 'tongue in cheek' you mean that it is not meant to be taken seriously; it is meant to be funny or ironic.
      "Peter's remark was taken more seriously than intended. It was supposed to be tongue in cheek."

  • tongue-lashing
    • When you scold someone severely, you give them a tongue-lashing.
      "The teacher gave Jeremy a tongue-lashing when arrived late for school."

  • tongue-tied
    • If you are tongue-tied, you have difficulty in expressing yourself because you are nervous or embarrassed.
      "At the start of the interview I was completely tongue-tied!"

  • tongues are wagging / set tongues wagging
    • When tongues are wagging, people are beginning to spread gossip or rumours, often about someone's private life.
      "The photograph of the couple that appeared in a magazine really set tongues wagging."

  • silver-tongued
    • A silver-tongued person is a smooth talker who speaks so convincingly that they manage to persuade others to do what they want.
      "A silver-tongued salesman persuaded my mother to buy a new washing machine although the one she had was fine!"

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