Main meanings of tong in English

: tong1tong2

tong1

Pronunciation /tɒŋ/

noun

  • (in the US) a Chinese association or secret society, frequently associated with organized crime.

    as modifier ‘the tong wars in Chinatown’
    • ‘The struggle for control of these illicit businesses also gave rise to frequent intrigues, violence, and political corruption and to sensational press coverage of the so-called tong wars.’
    • ‘I guess what I'm saying is we can complain all we want about the tong culture and how the rule of law can be a joke in this country, but we have to start somewhere if we want to fix things.’

Origin

Late 19th century from Chinese (Cantonese) t'ōng, literally ‘meeting place’.

Main meanings of tong in English

: tong1tong2

tong2

Pronunciation /tɒŋ/

verb

[with object]
  • 1Curl (hair) using tongs.

    ‘hair has been tonged at the ends for this great look’
    • ‘The stylist suggests tonging the front section into a large wave before pinning it to the head.’
    crimp, wave, tong
  • 2Collect (oysters) using oyster tongs.

    • ‘Hank still finds time to tong oysters in winter’