Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n.pl. A grasping device consisting of two arms that are joined, often at one end, as by a pivot or a scissorlike hinge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An instrument or tool used for picking things up without touching them with the hands or fingers, consisting of two slats or grips hinged at the end or in the middle, and sometimes including a spring to open the grips.
  • n. (Plural form of tong.) A large scissors-like two-piece center-hinged forged-iron implement with oval-loop handles and with pointed tips turned inward (in the same plane as and perpendicular to the handles) to facilitate lifting and carrying a block of ice. Often called ice tongs.
  • v. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of tong.
  • n. Plural form of tong.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. An instrument, usually of metal, consisting of two parts, or long shafts, jointed together at or near one end, or united by an elastic bow, used for handling things, especially hot coals or metals; -- often called a pair of tongs.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • See tong.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various devices for taking hold of objects; usually have two hinged legs with handles above and pointed hooks below

Etymologies

Middle English tonges, pl. of tonge, from Old English tang, tong.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
tong ("tool for manipulating things in a fire") + -s (Wiktionary)
tong ("Chinese secret society") + s (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The ride was long, but, with my saddle-bags and Lucy, a new mare my aunt had raised and given me, and clad in overalls, which we called tongs, I cared little for the mud, and often enough stopped to assist a chaise out of the deep holes, which made the roads dangerous for vehicles.

    Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker

  • Poop 'n' Scoop Canadian Winter Gloves: With built-in tongs, plus a special pocket where you can place your dog's business and keep your hands warm for the rest of the walk.

    Week 888: Make up a word based on someone's name

  • I've heard you can hold a pepper by clasping it in tongs and holding it over the gas flame on the oven range, that is, if you have a gas range.

    How to Roast Peppers ♥ | A Veggie Venture

  • So a team member can say that the tongs are the antennas to an extraterrestrial communications device and pretend to be tuning the antennas as they give their answer.

    Joan Brunwasser: Kelly Donoughe: How Odyssey of the Mind Inspired This Alumnus

  • A silver glow, like a blaze of molten escargot tongs, erupted from behind the ebony corona, and Claude felt himself trembling with a sort of euphoria.

    La insistencia de Jürgen Fauth

  • These Chinese gangs, what the Cantonese called tongs, had been in this country since the discovery of gold in California.

    The Flower Net

  • The marriage over the tongs is a thing to scandalise any well-brought-up person, for before he joined the couple's hands, Jimmy jumped about in a startling way, uttering wild gibberish, and after the ceremony was over there was rough work, with incantations and blowing on pipes.

    Auld Licht Idylls

  • The marriage over the tongs is a thing to scandalize any well-brought-up person, for before he joined the couple's hands Jimmy jumped about in a startling way, uttering wild gibberish, and after the ceremony was over there was rough work, with incantations and blowing on pipes.

    Auld Licht Idyls

  • Here now is Fort Cornelius, and there is the moat, the sugar-basin is the citadel, and the tongs is the first trench, the decanter will represent the tall tower towards the south-west angle, and here, the wine glass -- this is me.

    The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer — Complete

  • Some of the most powerful and influential associations were known as tongs and they competed for control of Chinatown.

    Museum Blogs

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