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Tongue-lashing is an idiom with an uncertain origin. We will examine the meaning of the idiom tongue-lashing, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

A tongue-lashing is reprimand, a session of harsh scolding, a verbal chiding. A tongue-lashing is verbal and is angry and emotional. If one receives a tongue-lashing, he has done something very bad. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the expression tongue-lashing is a hyphenated compound word. A hyphenated compound word is a compound that is composed of two or more words linked by hyphens. However, the term is often seen as two, separate words without a hyphen. The expression tongue-lashing came into use in the mid-1800s, but its origin is unknown. The image is of one receiving a physical beating with sharp tongue. The verb form is sometimes seen, but rarely: tongue-lash, tongue-lashed, tongue-lashes, tongue-lashing.


Although it is a huge increase from the Sh571 billion that Treasury had initially planned to borrow for the 2020/21 financial year, debt-shaming critics have spared Treasury the tongue-lashing. (The Standard)

After a harsh tongue-lashing from multiple commissioners in Spring Hope, town officials encouraged the Envirolink representatives to leave the meeting early so they could go check the cemeteries, since they were apparently too busy to do so during working hours. (The Spring Hope Enterprise)

That’s about as harsh a public tongue-lashing as Arkansans are ever going to get out of Hutchinson. (The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)