Posted by Ward on March 05, 2005

In Reply to: Forked-Tongue posted by David FG on March 05, 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.


The forked adjective has developed a sinister tone.....the Beech Bonanza is an expensive private airplane, used by many Doctors. There is a theory that doctors crash in their Bonanzas so often because of either a God complex or because they know they have some disease they don't want to die from. Since this airplane has a V tail arrangement, it has become known as the "fork tailed Doctor killer".