One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1More generally: any tongue-shaped part of an implement. In later use: especially = quillon.
2A tongue-shaped piece or strip.
3A metal plate attached to the foot of an organ flue pipe.
4Zoology. Each of the small tongue-like or tentacular processes forming a row along the dorsal edge of the pharyngeal basket in certain ascidians (sea squirts).
Late Middle English (in an earlier sense). From Anglo-Norman langette and Middle French languete, Middle French, French languette little tongue, tongue-shaped strap serving as an ornament on textiles, tongue of a balance (although this is apparently first attested later than in English: 1530 in Palsgrave; compare however Middle French, French langue tongue of a balance, Middle French languette tongue-shaped indicator on an astronomical instrument), reed in a wind instrument, tenon, narrow, projecting piece of land from lange, langue tongue + -ete, -ette.
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