1rare Any of various plants, chiefly of the family Boraginaceae, having rough, tongue-shaped leaves, as viper's bugloss, Echium vulgare, borage, Borago officinalis, and (especially in later use) ox-tongue, Picris echiodes (now included in the family Asteraceae (Compositae)). Compare "ox-tongue", "bugloss".
2historical A type of spear or staff weapon with a broad, triangular, double-edged blade, similar to the partisan, but without the basal projections to the head.
The modern spelling was introduced from French by 19th-cent. antiquarians.
Late Middle English (in an earlier sense). From Anglo-Norman lang de beof, lang de bove, lange de boef, also (rare) langebef and Middle French langue de beuf, langue de boeuf, langue de buef, French langue de boeuf, lit. ‘ox tongue’, also any of various plants having rough, tongue-shaped leaves, in Middle French also a kind of spear or staff weapon from lang, lange, langue tongue + de + beof, boef, boeuf, buef, etc. beef; as plant name in French perhaps after the Latin names of the plant.