- tongue (n.)
- Old English tunge "tongue, organ of speech; speech, a people's language," from Proto-Germanic *tungon (source also of Old Saxon and Old Norse tunga, Old Frisian tunge, Middle Dutch tonghe, Dutch tong, Old High German zunga, German Zunge, Gothic tuggo), from PIE *dnghwa- (source also of Latin lingua "tongue, speech, language," from Old Latin dingua; Old Irish tenge, Welsh tafod, Lithuanian liezuvis, Old Church Slavonic jezyku).
For substitution of -o- for -u-, see come. The spelling of the ending of the word apparently is a 14c. attempt to indicate proper pronunciation, but the result is "neither etymological nor phonetic, and is only in a very small degree historical" [OED]. In the "knowledge of a foreign language" sense in the Pentecostal miracle, from 1520s. Tongue-tied is first recorded 1520s. To hold (one's) tongue "refrain from speaking" was in Old English. Johnson has tonguepad "A great talker."
- tongue (v.)
- "to touch with the tongue, lick," 1680s, from tongue (n.). Earlier as a verb it meant "drive out by order or reproach" (late 14c.). Related: Tongued; tonguing.