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Tongue Idioms

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Learn English idioms easily and have fun with them! Our idioms activities are designed to make learning idioms as accessible as any other part of the English language. Instead of just memorizing lists of vocabulary, our activities aim to make the learning process interesting and productive. Knowing as many idioms as possible is important as native English speakers use them frequently. With our activities, you'll be able to master idioms and use them like a native speaker in no time!


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.

This lesson will help you to learn, remember, and use 12 common English idioms about the tongue. The 12 idioms are, set tongues wagging, silver tongued, loose tongue, tongue in cheek, sharp tongue, get tongue around, wicked tongue, on the tip of your tongue, civil tongue, tongue-lashing, cat got your tongue, and bite or hold your tongue.

TONGUE IDIOMS SET TONGUES WAGGING If you do something shocking which gets other people talking about you and your behaviour, you set tongues wagging. “The vicar’s relationship with the organist certainly set tongues wagging in the village.” SILVER TONGUED Someone who is able to easily convince people, or persuade them to come around to their way of thinking, is said to have a silver tongue. “He didn’t have the looks, but his silver tongue was enough to get him plenty of votes.” LOOSE TONGUE Someone who has a loose tongue fails to think carefully before they speak and is indiscrete. “As she began to give details about the process, it quickly became apparent that this woman had a loose tongue.” TONGUE IN CHEEK Something said tongue in cheek is said as if meant seriously when it is actually meant as a joke and not meant to be taken seriously. “He said, tongue in cheek, that his wife would not mind if he did spend more time fishing.” SHARP TONGUE A person who tends to speak to others in an overly critical or harsh manner has a sharp tongue. “His grandmother had a sharp tongue, as many found out to their cost.” GET TONGUE AROUND If you can’t seem to pronounce a difficult word correctly, we say you can’t get your tongue around it. “When I lived in Wales, I just could not get my tongue around strange place names like Llangollen.” WICKED TONGUE Someone who has a propensity for speaking in a malicious way is said to have a wicked tongue. “That woman has such a wicked tongue that I’d be surprised if she has a single friend in the world.” ON THE TIP OF YOUR TONGUE When you can’t quite recollect something, we say that it is on the tip of your tongue. “What was it called again? It’s on the tip of my tongue.” CIVIL TONGUE People who speak rudely or offensively to others are sometimes told to keep a civil tongue in their head. “I suggest you try to keep a civil tongue in your head, regardless of how you feel towards them.” TONGUE-LASHING To speak to someone angrily because they have done something that they should not have done is to give them a tongue-lashing. “I’m off to the headmaster’s office for a tongue-lashing.” CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE? “Cat got your tongue?” is often asked of people who do not say much when they would be expected to be speaking. “You’re very quiet. Cat got your tongue?” BITE/HOLD YOUR TONGUE When you really want to say something, but know that it would be unwise to do so, you need to bite/hold your tongue. “I really wanted to tell him he was an idiot, but I sat there and bit/held my tongue.”

Listen to this audio to help you with the questions.

Read this text to help you with the questions.

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