One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Too shy or embarrassed to speak.
lost for words, at a loss for words, struck dumb, dumbstruck, bereft of speech, speechless, wordless, unable to get a word out, inarticulateView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘In the course of it, the presenter became uncharacteristically tongue-tied and repetitive, which is hardly surprising.’
- ‘Anonymous messaging and chat rooms let you flirt to your heart's content without any embarrassment or getting tongue-tied.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘He became tongue-tied, embarrassed, and never acted like himself.’
- ‘She still got tongue-tied and nervous whenever she saw Marissa's brother.’
- ‘Not for him the tongue-tied introversion of the self-conscious artist or the mute autism of the affected recluse.’
- ‘He was, though, hopeless as a TV presenter: gauche, clumsy, slow, tongue-tied, forgetful, dull and disengaged.’
- ‘Women have greater fluency and are less likely to become tongue-tied when lying.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Neither could really speak, being tongue-tied and breathless.’
- ‘It made people tongue-tied and silent when they should have spoken out.’
- ‘He may be tongue-tied or nervous, confused or wanting in intelligence.’
- ‘His attractive features had caught her off guard, leaving her tongue-tied and bashful.’
- ‘On the whole, people are respectful of each other and the teenagers appear tongue-tied when in the presence of the opposite sex.’
- ‘Feeling as if I were on the witness stand, I grew tongue-tied and hesitant, and was unable to answer her questions satisfactorily.’
- ‘One finds oneself going into a room and meeting an archdeacon, and becoming completely tongue-tied.’
- ‘You may get tongue-tied on a date but luckily your body speaks for you (often more loudly and honestly).’
2Having a malformation restricting the movement of the tongue.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Top tips for CV writingRead more
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.