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tongue-tied (comparative more tongue-tied, superlative most tongue-tied)

  1. (idiomatic) Unable to express oneself clearly or fluently; at a loss for words.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 85:
      My toung-tide Muſe in manners holds her ſtill,
      While comments of your praiſe richly compil'd,
      Reſerue their Character with goulden quill,
      And precious phraſe by all the Muſes fil'd.
    • 1692, Roger L’Estrange, “[The Life of Æsop.] Of Æsop’s Countrey, Condition, and Person”, in Fables, of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists: [], London: Printed for R[ichard] Sare, [], OCLC 228727523, page 1:
      And he [Aesop] was not only Unhappy in the moſt ſcandalous Figure of a Man that ever was heard of; but he was in a manner Tongue-Ty'd too, by ſuch an Impediment in his ſpeech, that People could very hardly underſtand what he ſaid.
    • 1927-29, M.K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, translated 1940 by Mahadev Desai, Part I, Chapter xviii:
      I was elected to the Executive Committee of the Vegetarian Society, and made it a point to attend every one of its meetings, but I always felt tongue-tied. [] And it was not a little curious that whilst others expressed their opinions at these meetings, I sat quite silent. Not that I never felt tempted to speak. But I was at a loss to know how to express myself. All the rest of the members appeared to me to be better informed than I. Then it often happened that just when I had mustered up courage to speak, a fresh subject would be started. This went on for a long time.
  2. Suffering from tongue-tie or ankyloglossia.


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