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tongue, muscular organ occupying the floor of the mouth in vertebrates. In some animals, such as lizards, anteaters, and frogs, it serves a food-gathering function. In humans, the tongue functions principally in chewing, swallowing, and speaking. The human tongue is covered by a mucous membrane containing small projections called papillae, which give it a rough surface. Tiny taste organs, or buds, are scattered over the surface of three of the four types of papillae, with large numbers concentrated on papillae found on the back and sides of the tongue. The appearance of the tongue is often an indication of body health; a pinkish-red color is normal. In impairment of the digestion and in certain feverish diseases, a yellowish coating forms. Local infection of the tongue is called thrush.
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A projecting rib cut along the edge of a piece of timber so it can be fitted into a groove in an adjoining piece.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the unpaired growth on the floor of the mouth in humans and other vertebrates.

In fishes the tongue is a fold of the mucous membrane; it has no muscles (except in dipnoans) and moves with the entire visceral skeleton when the sublingual-branchial apparatus moves. In amphibians numerous mucous glands are found on the dorsum, that is, the superior surface of the tongue. All terrestrial vertebrates develop tongue musculature, derived from the sublingual parietal musculature. The tongue is able to move independently and serves to grasp food, move the food within the mouth, and swallow the food. Most tailless amphibians use the tongue to catch prey. In some amphibians the posterior end of the tongue is free; the tongue is ejected to catch insects, tipping downward with the free back edge. This feature is unknown in all other vertebrates.

In reptiles the anterior portion of the sublingual skeleton, the hyoid bone, lies at the base of the tongue. The tongue of crocodiles and turtles moves only inside the mouth. The long tongue of chameleons is covered with a sticky substance that aids in catching insects. The tongue of snakes and some lizards is bifurcated at the front and moves quickly; it is used to feel and analyze chemically (for taste) surrounding objects.

In birds the tongue is also connected to the hyoid bone. It usually is incapable of free movement, although it can be thrust forward in woodpeckers and hummingbirds. The tongue is covered by cornified epithelium. Parrots have a broad, fleshy, movable tongue. The shape of the avian tongue is extremely varied and is related to the diet of the particular species.

In mammals the tongue is capable of particularly free movement because of its complex musculature and reduction of the hyoid bone. In edentates and some ungulates the tongue is used to grasp food. In humans the tongue has also become an organ of speech. The mammalian tongue consists of the free part (or body), the apex, and the root (by which the tongue is attached to the lower jaw and hyoid bone). On the dorsum, between the body and the root, is situated the foramen cecum linguae, which is an atretic thyroid duct. The underside of the tongue is covered by a thin mucous membrane; salivary ducts open between the folds of the membrane and near the root of the tongue. The frenulum linguae, a fold of mucous membrane, descends from the middle of the tongue’s underside to the floor of the mouth.

The mucous membrane of the dorsum is thick and partly cornified. It has papillae of different shapes: filiform papillae for feeling and foliate, fungiform, and vallate papillae for perceiving taste stimuli. Serous and mucous glands located in the mucous membrane open between the papillae. The mucous membrane of the superior surface of the root of the tongue has protruding follicles, which make up the lingual tonsil.

The tongue musculature is striated, and the intertwining of muscle bundles ensures highly differentiated tongue movement. Three nerves enter the tongue: the hypoglossal is a motor nerve, and the glossopharyngeal and lingual are sensory, mainly gustatory, nerves. The tongue is supplied with blood by the paired lingual arteries; the blood flows out through several veins.


Shmal’gauzen, I. I. Osnovy sravnitel’noi anatomii pozvonochnykh zhivotnykh, 4th ed. Moscow, 1947.
Prives, M. G., N. K. Lysenkov, and V. I. Bushkovich. Anatomiia cheloveka, 8th ed. Leningrad, 1974.


Pathology. Congenital pathological conditions of the tongue include fissured tongue (presence of deep fissures on the dorsum that retain particles of food, thereby encouraging the development of erosions and cracks), shortened frenulum (manifested in infants by difficulty in sucking and later by impaired speech), and macroglossia (abnormally large tongue caused mainly by excessive muscle development). Some of these conditions, including macroglossia and shortened frenulum, can be corrected surgically. Injury to the tongue may be complicated by the development of an abscess or phlegmon requiring surgery. Specific and local treatment is used in case of tuberculosis or syphilis of the tongue. Tumors of the tongue may be benign (papillomas, fibromas, myomas, and hemangiomas) or malignant (carcinoma and sarcoma); therapy varies with the type of tumor (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A muscular organ located on the floor of the mouth in humans and most vertebrates which may serve various functions, such as taking and swallowing food or tasting or as a tactile organ or sometimes a prehensile organ.
A minor rock-stratigraphic unit of limited geographic extent; it disappears laterally in one direction.
A lava flow branching from a larger flow.
A protrusion of water into a region of different temperature, or salinity, or dissolved oxygen concentrating.
A protrusion of one water mass into a region occupied by a different water mass.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A projecting member, either as a continuous ridge along the edge of a board or plank, or as a tenon on the end of a wood member; intended to be fitted into a corresponding groove or opening in another member to form a joint.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a movable mass of muscular tissue attached to the floor of the mouth in most vertebrates. It is the organ of taste and aids the mastication and swallowing of food. In man it plays an important part in the articulation of speech sounds
2. an analogous organ in invertebrates
3. a language, dialect, or idiom
5. a promontory or spit of land
6. Music the reed of an oboe or similar instrument
7. the clapper of a bell
8. a long and narrow projection on a machine or structural part that serves as a guide for assembly or as a securing device
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A tongue is used for communicating, nourishing the body, and giving or receiving physical pleasure. After considering the details of your dream, see into what category your dream message may fall. Are you afraid of gossip or a “harsh” tongue, or do you have other concerns in regard to this body part? The extended tongue can be a symbol of mockery, lustfulness, exhaustion, or thirst. Consider your current needs and see if any of them are being addressed in this dream.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Table 4: Signs positive in child patients Signs All patients Patients of < (n = 98) 5 year (n = 31) Toxic look 91 (92.85) 28 (90.32) Coated tongue 65 (66.32) 19 (61.29) Pallor 39 (39.79) 16 (51.61) Hepatomegaly 36 (36.73) 09 (29.03) Splenomegaly 20 (20.40) 03 (9.67) Abdominal tenderness 0 0 Rose spots 0 0 Signs Patients of > P 5 year (n = 67) Toxic look 63 (94.02) <0.05 Coated tongue 46 (68.65) <0.05 Pallor 26 (38.80) <0.05 Hepatomegaly 27 (40.29) <0.05 Splenomegaly 17 (25.37) <0.05 Abdominal tenderness 0 NA Rose spots 0 NA Table 5: Frequency of complications in patients Complications Number of Percentage patients (n = 98) Hepatitis 2 2.04 Appendicitis 2 2.04 Colitis 2 2.04 Encephalopathy 1 1.02 Septic shock 1 1.02 Thrombocytopenia 1 1.02 Total 8 8.16
The pointers here may include symptoms that develop slowly, irritability, an abdomen sensitive to touch, dry mucous membranes, a yellowish or brown coated tongue, constipation or the passing of large, dry stools, lethargy and a thirst for large amounts of liquid.
(4,10,22,23) Our study corroborates these findings, as coated tongue (12.5%) and fissured tongue (10.0%) were among the seven most prevalent alterations that we identified.
After the wall was exposed, her condition deteriorated rapidly--"The fatigue bowled me over; it just knocked me." Other symptoms to worsen particularly were: shortness of breath; bloodshot, dry irritated eyes; sore, coated tongue and a dry mouth.
Clinical presentation of these children has been the same with fever, toxic look, coated tongue, abdominal pain, lethargy and hepatosplenomegaly or both as shown in our study.
(7) However, the previous study did not describe conditions that were considerably frequent in this study, such as lingual varicosities and coated tongue. Oral mucosal lesions were observed in 45% of the institutionalized elderly in Denmark; however, nonpathologic mucosal changes of the tongue were not included in the evaluation.
Some external signs of dysfunction are: bad breath, a coated tongue, dark circles under the eyes, rashes and itchy skin.
Our observation of fever as a common complaint in all the children and diarrhea being more common than constipation, similar findings were also observed by other author.(9,10) Our data showed that most common clinical findings was coated tongue followed by hepatomegaly (77.55%) and splenomegaly (38.77%).
Xerostomia was present in 87% patients followed by thickened mucosa (12%) , angular cheilitis (29%), periodontitis (41%), gingivitis (17%), tooth erosion (40%), tooth mobility (38%), ammonia like odour (Uraemic fetor) (45%), coated tongue (17%) , mucosal pallor (37%), metallic taste (48%) and mucosal pigmentation (20% ).
Percentage Fever 81 100.00 11 13.58 Headache 24 29.62 04 04.93 Constipation 06 07.40 02 02.46 Diarrhoea 14 17.28 04 04.93 Anorexia 18 22.22 11 13.58 Pain abdomen 31 38.27 06 07.40 Hepatomegaly 58 71.60 34 41.97 Splenomegaly 17 20.98 11 13.58 Coated tongue 72 88.88 60 74.07 Visit 3 (Day 7) Clinical findings No.