One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Chinese association or secret society in the US, frequently associated with underworld criminal activity.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Late 19th century: from Chinese ( Cantonese dialect) t'ōng, literally ‘meeting place’.
Collect, lift, or handle (items such as logs or oysters) using tongs.
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