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hold (one's) tongue
To stay quiet despite wanting to say something. If you want to say something rude to my girlfriend, please hold your tongue, all right?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ˌhold your ˈpeace/ˈtongue(old-fashioned) say nothing; remain silent although you would like to give your opinion: We don’t want anyone to know what’s happened, so you’d better hold your tongue — do you understand? ♢ I didn’t want to start another argument, so I held my peace.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer