on the tip of one's tongue

on the tip of (one's) tongue

Almost able to be recalled. Her name is on the tip of my tongue. Just give me a minute, I'll remember it. I had the answer on the tip of my tongue, but couldn't think of it in time.
See also: of, on, tip, tongue
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

on the tip of one's tongue

Ready to utter something but unable to remember it at the moment, as in I met him last year and his name is on the tip of my tongue-it'll come to me in a minute . [Early 1700]
See also: of, on, tip, tongue
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.

on the tip of one's tongue

Ready to say something but unable to remember it precisely. This graphic image was stated early in the eighteenth century by Daniel Defoe (Moll Flanders, 1722): “She had arguments at the tip of her tongue.” However, a similar term that is even older had quite a different meaning: at one’s tongue’s end meant that one could not keep from saying something but blurted it out. Thus, “Having always at her tongue’s end that excellent proverb” (Henry Fielding, Amelia, 1751) meant she could not stop repeating it. This version is obsolete, but “on the tip of the tongue” has been a cliché since about 1850.
See also: of, on, tip, tongue
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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