set tongues (a-)wagging

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set tongues (a-)wagging

To be a source of gossip or idle speculation. Just when the dust of his previous scandal had begun to settle, the governor committed a new faux pas to set tongues a-wagging across the country. Being such a media celebrity means that anything one does, no matter how banal, is enough to set tongues wagging.
See also: set, tongue
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

set tongues (a)wagging

Fig. to cause people to start gossiping. The affair between the boss and her accountant set tongues a wagging. If you don't get the lawn mowed soon, you will set tongues wagging in the neighborhood.
See also: set, tongue, wag
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

set tongues wagging

If something that you do or say sets tongues wagging, it makes people talk about you. The pop singer set tongues wagging by arriving with a mystery man. Note: You can also say that something starts tongues wagging or that tongues start wagging. Tongues started wagging when Claudia moved from her native Germany to Monaco earlier this year. Note: If people are talking about someone, you can say tongues are wagging. They spent an evening together at his Knightsbridge flat. He said they played cards but added: `No doubt tongues will be wagging.'
See also: set, tongue, wag
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

set tongues wagging

be the cause of much gossip or rumour.
See also: set, tongue, wag
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

set ˈtongues wagging

(informal) cause people to start talking about somebody’s private affairs: A careless remark about his family really set tongues wagging.
See also: set, tongue, wag
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Closer to home Conservative gadfly Maxime "Mad Max" Bernier has managed to set tongues a-wagging on both sides of the aisle with tweets that question Canada's sudden, and empty, embrace of 'diversity'.
Before that, the football-mad pop star took Rachel Hunter's sister Jacqui for dinner at Los Angeles' Ivy restaurant, where they set tongues a-wagging by putting on sunglasses, behaving shiftily and totally ignoring all the other diners.