hold one's tongue, to

hold one's tongue

Fig. to refrain from speaking; to refrain from saying something unpleasant. I felt like scolding her, but I held my tongue. Hold your tongue, John. You can't talk to me that way!
See also: hold, tongue

hold one's tongue

Also, hold or keep one's peace . Keep quiet, remain silent, as in If you don't hold your tongue you'll have to go outside, or Jenny kept her peace about the wedding. The idiom with tongue uses hold in the sense of "restrain," while the others use hold and keep in the sense of "preserve." Chaucer used the first idiom in The Tale of Melibus (c. 1387): "Thee is better hold thy tongue still, than for to speak." The variant appears in the traditional wedding service, telling anyone who knows that a marriage should not take place to "speak now or forever hold your peace." [First half of 1300s] Also see keep quiet.
See also: hold, tongue

hold one's tongue, to

To refrain from speaking or replying. The term appears in Miles Coverdale’s translation of the Gospel of Matthew (26:63), “Jesus helde his tonge,” but had been used earlier by Chaucer (“Thee is bettre holde thy tonge stille, than for to speke,” Tale of Melibeus, ca. 1387). It later appeared in John Ray’s 1670 collection of proverbs, and remains current.
See also: hold