Definition of tongue-tied in English:



  • 1Too shy or embarrassed to speak.

    ‘Barbara was tongue-tied in the presence of her parents’
    • ‘Feeling as if I were on the witness stand, I grew tongue-tied and hesitant, and was unable to answer her questions satisfactorily.’
    • ‘Neither could really speak, being tongue-tied and breathless.’
    • ‘He became tongue-tied, embarrassed, and never acted like himself.’
    • ‘In the course of it, the presenter became uncharacteristically tongue-tied and repetitive, which is hardly surprising.’
    • ‘You may get tongue-tied on a date but luckily your body speaks for you (often more loudly and honestly).’
    • ‘He also had the skill to make almost any interview work, even when the person in the guest chair was tongue-tied or full of themselves and hell-bent on plugging some current endeavor.’
    • ‘He may be tongue-tied or nervous, confused or wanting in intelligence.’
    • ‘He was, though, hopeless as a TV presenter: gauche, clumsy, slow, tongue-tied, forgetful, dull and disengaged.’
    • ‘Anonymous messaging and chat rooms let you flirt to your heart's content without any embarrassment or getting tongue-tied.’
    • ‘Not for him the tongue-tied introversion of the self-conscious artist or the mute autism of the affected recluse.’
    • ‘Women have greater fluency and are less likely to become tongue-tied when lying.’
    • ‘His attractive features had caught her off guard, leaving her tongue-tied and bashful.’
    • ‘But that piece of filming became part of family folklore, as my parents were convinced it had been edited to make its subject appear shy and tongue-tied, to fit their own preconceptions about country people.’
    • ‘She still got tongue-tied and nervous whenever she saw Marissa's brother.’
    • ‘On the whole, people are respectful of each other and the teenagers appear tongue-tied when in the presence of the opposite sex.’
    • ‘If you want to get involved in evangelization but, like most people, feel tongue-tied and vaguely inept, one easy way to do it is to order some copies of this booklet and give 'em away.’
    • ‘One finds oneself going into a room and meeting an archdeacon, and becoming completely tongue-tied.’
    • ‘It made people tongue-tied and silent when they should have spoken out.’
    • ‘But I didn't, because I was suddenly tongue-tied and self-conscious.’
    • ‘He flushed with aggravation at his nervousness, and swore silently at his tendency to get tongue-tied in the presence of beautiful women.’
    lost for words, at a loss for words, struck dumb, dumbstruck, bereft of speech, speechless, wordless, unable to get a word out, inarticulate
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  • 2Having a malformation restricting the movement of the tongue.

    • ‘I was born tongue-tied in the most literal sense: the tissue connecting my tongue to the floor of my mouth was short and thick, limiting lingual movement.’
    • ‘If you are medically tongue-tied, you shouldn't be able to touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth with your mouth open as wide as you can.’