Posted by David FG on March 05, 2005

In Reply to: Forked-Tongue posted by Smokey Stover on March 04, 2005

: : Hey all. First time at this site. Pretty cool.
: : I would love to know the origin of the phrase "forked-tongued". I understand it to be an old American Indian phrase that means to lie, but when was it used first and about whom?
: : Also, I think it could be added to the 350+ body parts phrases you have.

: : Anyway, great site. Will visit often.

: MWOD: "Main Entry: forked tongue
: Function: noun
: Date: 1836
: : intent to mislead or deceive -- usually used in the phrase to speak with forked tongue." I hope this helps. MWOD did not identify 1836 source. I heard as an Indian saying it in a Lone Ranger movie, which is no help, except to reinforce the association with American Indians. "White man speak with forked tongue." Since snakes and some other reptiles have forked tongues, I assume that there is some association, although snakes are far less mendacious than white men. SS

I always assumed that the snake thing was coincidental, and that the allusion was to having a 'double tongue' enabling the white man to say one thing and mean another.