One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in the US) a Chinese association or secret society, frequently associated with organized crime.as modifier ‘the tong wars in Chinatown’
- ‘The struggle for control of these illicit businesses also gave rise to frequent intrigues, violence, and political corruption and to sensational press coverage of the so-called tong wars.’
- ‘I guess what I'm saying is we can complain all we want about the tong culture and how the rule of law can be a joke in this country, but we have to start somewhere if we want to fix things.’
Late 19th century: from Chinese ( Cantonese dialect) t'ōng, literally ‘meeting place’.
1Curl (hair) using tongs.‘hair has been tonged at the ends for this great look’
crimp, waveView synonyms
- ‘The stylist suggests tonging the front section into a large wave before pinning it to the head.’
2Collect (oysters) using oyster tongs.‘Hank still finds time to tong oysters in winter’
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