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"There is no need to say anything more...The first thing I shall incinerate is your tongue."
Refers to damage done to the tongue of any kind:
- Someone's tongue getting burnt.
- Someone biting their own tongue.
- Someone biting someone else's tongue.
- Someone tearing out someone else's tongue.
- Someone's tongue getting cut off.
- Someone's tongue getting stabbed.
- Someone having a really nasty looking piercing on their tongue.
- Someone eats their own tongue.
- Someone eats someone else's tongue. Bonus points if they are force fed one.
- Someone's tongue gets sliced with a knife.
Naturally with this trope, you may expect Nausea Fuel
and/or Nightmare Fuel
. Also a Sister Trope
of Eye Scream
, and Fingore
. May dovetail with Overly Long Tongue
in many cases.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Murmur, one of the newer members of The Flash's Rogues Gallery, is a Serial Killer whose M.O. consists of cutting out his victims' tongues and sewing their lips shut, because he believes this to be the best way to silence the voices that only he can hear. He doesn't exclude himself from this treatment.
- In Green Lantern, Mongul II rips off Akrillo's tongue. Much later, Saint Walker heals it.
- Pictured above, the Joker, who does this to himself during "Batman R.I.P." in Grant Morrison's Batman run.
- In Death Of The Family, Harley bites off the Joker's tongue and spits it out in front of him. It doesn't affect his ability to speak.
- In Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel, the Committee on Dangers Past, Present and Future rounds up suspicious persons and punishes them by slicing off their tongues. The severed tongues fill up a bucket.
- In Bone, Roque Ja/Rock Jaw cuts out Kingdok's, leading to a literal "Cat got your tongue?"
- X-Men villain Toad has a long, prehensile tongue as one of his mutations. Sometimes, he uses it to catch insects or as an extra limb in combat; sometimes it gets grabbed, sliced, electrocuted, or slammed in car doors.
- In the Death Note fanfic titled "Stolen" by SekushiAi a psychopath presses a scalpel to Light's tongue, cutting it open. And then he pours some liquid which contains vinegar into Light's mouth right afterwards. Brutal.
- In "Walk the Shadows", a Harry Potter fanfic by jharad17 after Harry pisses off Nott, a Death Eater, Nott responds by casting a spell which damages his eyes and removes his tongue.
- In the Naruto fanfic "Purple" (by kodak-85) Naruto bites down hard on Sasuke's tongue to get the latter to stop kissing him.
- In the Redvs Blue fanfic "Murderer's Row", O'Malley has a chunk of his tongue bitten off by Donut after he tries to force a kiss.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic / Doctor Who crossover fic "Mines of Dragon Mountain" a saboteur from a race known as the Grundels is captured. Upon delivering a warning to the magnate whose mine he was attacking the Grundel gruesomely bites off his own tongue and chokes to death on it.
- In the infamous My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Dark Fic "Cupcakes" Pinkie said she had to cut off Gilda's tongue after she mouthed off to her.
- In the The Dark Knight Saga fanfic The Sword of Damocles the Joker's Only Sane Employee Ballard mentions that after a Mook criticized his plan, the Joker sawed the guy's tongue out, threw it to the stray cats outside, and kicked him as he choked to death on his own blood. While making a pun about cats having his tongue.
- Cheerilee has some fun with this in Cheerilee's Garden when, in the first chapter, she uses a machine to rip apart Silver Spoon's tongue, and then later in Scarlet Harvest, Part 2 when she causes Applejack to bite off her own tongue. Even Twilight gets into this at the end when she finally is able to punish Cheerilee and does so by pulling out her tongue with her magic, among other things.
- The "sloth" victim from Se7en bit off and ate his own tongue.
- King Kong rips out an attacking T Rex's tongue with his teeth in the new King Kong movie.
- In Ichi the Killer, protagonist Kakihara slices off the tip of his own tongue. Of course being a masochist he enjoys it immensely.
- In Oldboy, Dae-su cuts out his own tongue with scissors.
- In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves the Sherrif threatens to cut out Will Scarlet's tongue. This is one of his more plausable threats.
- Resident Evil. When the mutated experiment shoots out its tongue at Alice in the train car, she stabs the tongue with a pipe, pinning it to the grating. Later the experiment falls through the hole in the floor and the door is closed, cutting off part of its tongue.
- In The Mummy, Imhotep has his tongue cut out among other things before he is Buried Alive. Imhotep also cuts someone else's tongue and keeps it for himself after he resurrects.
- In Rat Race, Randall Pear has a heated up car cigarette lighter fall into his mouth.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean, Cotton has had his tongue cut out and trained his parrot to talk for him. "No one's quite sure how."
- Jack Sparrow suggests doing this to an enemy. "Shoot him. Cut out his tongue. And shoot his tongue."
- Herschell Gordon Lewis's Blood Feast, features one kill in which the killer pulls a young woman's tongue out, leaving an excessively bloody mess.
- A Christmas Story: one of the boys goes through with a triple-dog-dare to lick a lamppost during winter, with catastrophic results.
- The Eighties schlock-fest Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness has an early scene in which the protagonist is dared to cut his own tongue out, which he promptly does. Later, he is able to talk normally after work with a speech therapist. Seriously.
- In The People Under the Stairs, it is explained that the owners of the house preferred to cut off / out the "bad parts" of their children and lock them in the basement. In at least one case, the "bad part" was the kid's tongue.
- In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Robin is subjected to the "tongue looseners" — a pair of pliers which seize his tongue and stretch it out a good foot. It snaps back into his mouth when released.
- One of Don Giovanni's men had his tongue cut out. Why? He was making a funny face.
- In Eastern Promises Nikolai puts out a cigarette on his own tongue. It doesn't faze him at all, but it was traumatic enough to show up on the Parents Guide on IMDB.
- The newest version of True Grit has the Texas Ranger bite his own tongue while being dragged behind a horse. It only results in him talking funny for the remainder of the film.
- During the climax of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, the Jabberwock's tongue gets cut off by Alice just right before their battle... which is a shame, since it was voiced by Christopher Lee.
- In The Goonies, Mama Fratelli threatens to invoke this trope on Mouth.
- In The Midnight Meat Train, Bradley Cooper's character gets his tongue ripped off by another character's teeth.
- In Dead Silence, Mary Shaw's prime method of killing is ripping out her victims' tongues.
- In Jeepers Creepers, the Creeper uses his teeth to remove the tongue from a cop's severed head.
- The first thing The Warlock does in the movie of the same name is bite some poor shmuck's tongue off and make an omelete of it.
- In Audition, there is evidence that this may be the least horrible thing Asami does to her boyfriends. Her ex got his tongue cut out and Aoyama got an injection of something paralytic under his tongue.
- Million Dollar Baby: After she's paralyzed, Maggie tries to commit suicide by biting through her tongue.
- In Kill Bill, The Bride bites a rapist's tongue when he tries to French Kiss her.
- In Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled, the Djinn uses his powers to force someone over the phone to rip out his own tongue.
- In the Evil Dead 2013 remake, Mia slices her tongue in half before forcibly kissing her brother's girlfriend, Natalie. It is the least sexiest thing ever.
- Kharis's tongue was cut before he was wrapped in shrouds and entombed alive in The Mummy (1959).
- Invoked in Alien: Resurrection; after joining up with the pirates, Ripley tears out the tongue of a recently-killed xenomorph with her bare hand and presents it to Call.
- King Arthur was in Merlin's laboratory where the great wizard was showing him his latest creation. It was a chastity belt, except it had a rather large hole in the most obvious place which made it basically useless. "This is no good, Merlin!" the King exclaimed, "Look at this opening. How is this supposed to protect my lady, the Queen, when I'm on a long quest?" "Ah, sire, just observe," said Merlin. He then selected his most worn out wand, one that he was going to discard anyway. He inserted it in the gaping aperture of the chastity belt whereupon a small guillotine blade came down and cut it neatly in two. "Merlin, you are a genius!" said the grateful monarch. "Now I can leave, knowing that my Queen is fully protected." After putting Guinevere in the device, King Arthur then set out upon a lengthy Quest. Several years passed until he returned to Camelot. Immediately he assembled all of his knights in the courtyard and had them drop their trousers for an informal 'short arm' inspection. Sure enough, each and every one of them was either amputated or damaged in some way. All of them, except Sir Galahad. "Sir Galahad," exclaimed King Arthur. "You are my one and only true knight! Only you among all the nobles have been true to me. What is it in my power to grant you? Name it and it is yours." But, alas, Sir Galahad was speechless.
- Robert A. Heinlein's "Methuselah's Children". When a member of the Howard Families is taken captive, he bites his own tongue almost in half so he can't be forced to tell the truth about the Families' secrets.
- In Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series of novels, the hero Richard kicks a sadistic little princess on the chin hard enough to smash most of her teeth and sever her tongue completely. Normally you don't condone child abuse, but she had it coming. She gets better.
- In The Hunger Games (which takes place is a futuristic dystopia) criminals have their tongues cut out and become Avoxes.
- In The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, Dog Faced Joe chews up the tongue of his current body before abandoning it and possessing a new one.
- The Ritual of Chüd in Stephen King's IT.
- Also occurs during the demise of Randall Flagg near the end of The Dark Tower series.
- The protagonist of Fight Club challenges an entire club to fights at the end of the book, and bites off half his tongue when hit with an uppercut.
- The Japanese fairy tale The Tongue-Cut Sparrow features the wicked wife of a kindly old man cutting off a sparrow's tongue.
- The Romanian fairy tale The Death of the Sun-Hero features the titular Sun-Hero getting his tongue ripped out by a crab, resulting in his death.
- The original fairy tale of The Little Mermaid has the sea witch cut off the mermaid's tongue as payment for the human legs.
- The High Priest (Priestess?) from the Inheritance Cycle had part of his/her tongue cut out as part of a self-mutilation ritual. However, that's barely noticeable considering that he/she is also missing all four limbs.
- Ellen James in The World According to Garp had her tongue cut out by rapists to prevent her from identifying them. They didn't take into account that she could still write.
- The Bird Woman tears out Spider's tongue in Anansi Boys after she gets tired of him trying to talk his way out.
- Ser Ilyn Payne, the executioner in A Song of Ice and Fire, had his tongue ripped out with hot pincers as punishment for making a joke about the king. It's also lampshaded frequently — Tyrion advices Cersei not to tear out the tongues of those spreading rumors of her Brother-Sister Incest because all it does is convince people that the tongueless people had something important to say. The Silent Sisters supposedly have their tongues removed, but a septon points out this is an Urban Legend, as the Sisters take a vow of silence — such a vow would be meaningless if they weren't able to talk.
- In Dagger-Star by Elizabeth Vaughan, Ezren the Storyteller was Made a Slave, and his cruel master cut off his tongue. The heroes rescue him and restore his tongue with a healing spell. After getting his tongue back, he complains that his voice doesn't sound as good as it used to be. Since the heroes have never heard his original voice, they can only take his word on this.
- In Ted Dekker's The Priest's Graveyard, Danny Hansen drugs a man into unconsciousness and cuts out a piece of tongue before deciding that the man didn't didn't deserve to live on even like that and kills him anyway.
- The poet Malfont in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene has his tongue nailed to a post for criticizing Queen Mercilla (who, like most of the female figures in the poem, is reminiscent of Elizabeth I). This is often read as either Spenser setting himself apart from seditious poets (he had been in trouble in the past for writing poetry critical of the Queen) or a critique of state censorship.
- In Sewer, Gas & Electric, a corporate raider who'd claimed he could even get rich selling pencils from a cup is forced to prove it by the Big Bad. He's kidnapped, dressed like a bum, has an explosive collar fitted around his neck, and left in a train station with a cup full of pencils to try to earn enough cash to unlock the collar before it blows. To ensure he can't explain the situation, his tongue is stapled so he can't speak coherently.
- Happens off-page in The Silence of the Lambs, where an imprisoned Hannibal Lecter somehow talks his fellow inmate, "Multiple" Miggs, into committing suicide by swallowing his own tongue. Lecter is very mad at Miggs for acting inappropriately around Clarice.
- James Bond
- In No Deals, Mr. Bond, former operatives from a Honey Trap mission are being killed and their bodies are found with their tongues surgically removed. In the climax, this threatens to happen to several of them when they are still alive.
- Before he started to work for Dr. Gorner, Chagrin in Devil May Care worked with Viet Minh in Indo-China, where he went around ripping off the tongues of the priests sent there by the French with pliers (the children who listened to their preaching got something else). He continues doing so in his current employment to remind people to keep their mouths shut.
- In Triptych, set in Atlanta, Georgia, the detectives are hunting a killer who bites out his victims' tongues.
Live Action TV
- An episode of Grey's Anatomy had a patient of the week have tongue cancer that would cost her her tongue. Fortunately the gang come up with an experimental procedure that avoids that.
- In Rome Titus Pullo rips out a mans tongue with his teeth then keeps him in a cage for years. Pullo is one of the good guys, by the way.
- The House episode "No Reason" has a patient with a swollen tongue that swells so much it fills up his entire mouth.
- In 1000 Ways to Die, a criminal tries to run from a cop, but ends up falling into a sewer hole and hits his lower jaw on the way down, causing him to literally bite his own tongue off.
- Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones slices an adversary's throat and rips out his tongue through the hole. Sort of a Dothraki version of a Columbian Necktie.
- Later in the season, Joffrey forces a bard to replay a satirical song about Robert and Cersei he'd been heard singing in a pub. He then asks the bard if a man's tongues or fingers are more important. When the bard answers fingers, Joffrey order Ser Ilyn to rip out his tongue - which happens right there, in the middle of court, while everyone tries very hard to look the other way.
- Luther. A gang hoping to get their hands on a stash of diamonds let the husband know they're serious by cutting out his wife's tongue.
- Talked about in the Firefly episode "Bushwhacked". The Alliance personnel inform Mal that this happened to the guy who the crew pulled off the converted freighter, assuming that they had done that prior to being caught. As we later see, that was just where it started. He did it all to himself. Yes, all of it.
- In the last episode of season 5 of Sons of Anarchy, Otto Delaney bites off his own tongue and throws it at a two-way mirror when he's formally interrogated about his murder of a nurse.
- In an episode of Angel, a demon cuts up several people, including a few vampires, to make a mural from their body parts. As the vampires haven't been staked or beheaded, they are still alive. One of the vampires begs to be put out of his misery, but the demon rips his tongue out of his mouth to get him to shut up.
- The cover artwork for Hellion album Will Not Go Quietly depicts some poor guy getting his tongue ripped out.
- The original artwork for Autopsy's debut album Severed Survival features a man being ripped apart by hooks, with one of them stretching his tongue agonizingly far out of his body.
Myth and Legends
- The Indian/Bengali legend of Lilavathi is a fun example. Lilavathi was the the daughter of an enemy-of-the-state of Sri Lanka, kidnapped as a young girl, raised in Sri Lanka, and marrying a noble's son. Lilavathi being an accomplished scholar, and her father being a total hellion, some higher-ups decided to punish Lilavathi's father by making it so Lilavathi could never express her teachings again. Lilavathi, however, decided to go down like a Badass and managed to buy another day before she had her tongue cut off. She spent the entirety of that day dictating all her lessons and discoveries to her husband. After that, her work was compiled into a sort of all-purpose almanac (which exists today). Nowadays, she is almost universally recognized and beloved in Bangladesh as a bit of a folk hero. Her work is still valuable to agriculturalists today.
- Swollen tongues get chopped off in Theme Hospital.
- In Deadly Premonition, the Raincoat Killer bites out his victims' tongues.
- The servant grunt◊ from Amnesia: The Dark Descent has a pretty gruesome mouth area in general.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, Mean Sonofabitch, the friendly Super Mutant had his tongue cut out by NCR soldiers, which explains his generally unintelligible dialogue.
- Happened to three of the abducted children in the backstory of Corpse Party, one of the girls also lost an eye, and the other had the top half of her head removed. The ghost of one of the children (the one boy) will remove your tongue if it catches you.
- In Analogue: A Hate Story, this is how the Kims "silence" the Pale Bride.
- In Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, the "other" Alfendi will sometimes threaten the main suspect even the protagonist (if she gets the answer wrong) by slicing their tongues.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Deku Toad miniboss' Weak Point is located on the tip of its tongue, and can be hit with sword, arrows, bombs, arrows with bombs...
- Touhou Journal has Reimu burning herself on a hot cup of tea. This being a very light-hearted webcomic, Reimu makes a particularly cute face in reaction.
- In Fairy Dust, þrym rips out Ellen's tongue as part of her punishment for her ongoing insubordination. It's underlined early on that such a mutilation's effect is not limited to the loss of speech, it also hinders eating to a life-threatening extent and is generally harmful to health. The tongue is, after all, an important part of the digestive system, and protects the lungs from inhaling saliva.
- One of Cillian Crowe's kills in Survival of the Fittest v1 has him rip out a guy's tongue, and then slicing open his skull.
- In the incredibly disturbing short film The Cat With Hands the titular cat (note: probably not even a cat at all) bites off a guy's tongue to complete its repertoire of body parts which it has been collecting for years to become a human. Holy shit.
- This is Sniffles' gimmick on Happy Tree Friends.
- In My Life as a Teenage Robot, Sheldon is looking for Jenny when he trips over a crack in the sidewalk and bites his own tongue as he falls flat.
- In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Unremarkable Voyage", Meatwad forces Master Shake to cut his own tongue from his head with a chainsaw.
- In Teen Titans, Beast Boy (as an aardvark) got his tongue stepped on.
- According to Lisa Simpson in the Simpsons episode where she exposes founder Jebediah Springfield as an evil pirate named Hans Sprungfeld, Sprungfeld actually wore a silver tongue because his real one got bitten off by a Turk.
- This happens quite a few times in Ren and Stimpy like in "Mad Dog Hoek" during a rant Stimpy's tongue stretches and snaps off, in "Magical Singing Cheese" Stimpy rips his tongue off a frozen flagpole, Ren has had his share too like in one instance his tongue got burned off and in other he got stung in the tongue by a bee.
- In the Powerpuff Girls episode "The Boys Are Back In Town" after getting sick of being beating by the recently resurrected Rowdyruff Boys Buttercup punches Butch causing him to bite his tongue.
- In the The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Which Came First?" Billy gets his tongue burned off by acidic egg yolk from the mutant chicken's eggs.
- In an episode of Futurama Bender offers to share his food with Fry and Fry politely declines saying that robot food is different from human food, but Bender dumps some in his mouth causing his tongue to catch on fire (once Fry stops screaming in pain he seems to quite enjoy the food).
- Courage the Cowardly Dog occasionally gets his tongue stomped on, electrocuted, or burned to a crisp.
- One of the least-fortunate residents of Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends has tongues for his feet. Not only does it hurt him to walk on them, but he can actually taste whether anyone's cleaned the floor recently.
- In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy bites a wooden nickel, but it breaks and he gets splinters on his tongue. In another episode, Eddy gets a door closed on his tongue.
- In the short cartoon Tongue Twister by Sean Scott, a character whose tongue is stuck to a flagpole takes a saw to it.
- Gravity Falls: In "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel", Li'l Gideon tries to use his telekinetic powers to cut out Dipper's tongue.
"I'm gonna make sure you never
lie to me again...friend
- And then in "Carpet Diem," an owl apparently tried to eat Dipper's tongue while he was sleeping outside. That poor tongue can not catch a break.
- Plucky Duck has several of these in the Tiny Toon Adventures HISMSV movie. "Tongue Joke no. 10."
- Erik "The Lizardman" Sprague is a sideshow performer who has modified himself to resemble a lizard, including a bifurcated tongue. Actually a more-common-than-you'd-think form of body modification; it's done by gradually splitting the tongue with a razor sharp blade after a procedure similar to a normal tongue piercing. Given time, the split tongue muscles adapt and you can wiggle the two halves independently from each other.
- The parasitic crustacean Cymothoa exigua (WARNING: Do not click the link if you plan to sleep soundly tonight) actually latches on to a fish's tongue and causes it to shrivel up and atrophy. The crustacean then clings to the stub and serves as the fish's new tongue in a manner not dissimilar to a corporate takeover.
- Veterinarians use tongue-clamps to affix pulse monitors to unconscious dogs and cats that are undergoing surgical procedures. Not harmful, but rather uncomfortable even to look at, never mind wear.
- There are probably few people who haven't experienced the pain of biting their own tongue by accident. Likewise for accidentally burning their own tongue on something that was just a little too hot.
- Upon killing a baleen whale, orcas will often eat nothing but the dead whale's tongue. Granted, that's a big tongue, and usually the only part of the whale that's easily accessible without chewing through skin as thick and tough as a car tire.
- Subverted in people with epilepsy, despite what "common knowledge" would say. Cramming something into someone's mouth when they're having a fit won't prevent them from swallowing their tongue (it's attached to the inside of the mouth; if you don't believe me, just try to swallow your tongue right now), rather, you're running a very high risk of being bitten, knocking out their teeth, or even asphyxiating them by accident. The only risk that the tongue faces during an epileptic fit would be if the person were to accidentally bite down on it.
- The Vandals were famously accused of doing this when they swept into North Africa. The Vandals were Christians, but they belonged to the Arian sect that the Catholic Church deemed heretical; when then-Catholic North Africa was conquered, some of the locals began to mock them. Not wishing to kill more fellow Christians than strictly necessary, they cut out a bunch of Catholic tongues.
- Dick York, the first actor who played Darrin Stevens on Bewitched, was forced to retire due to back problems. The pain was so bad that he ended up falling and biting through his tongue.
- Classic Maya religion included ritual bloodletting, often from the tongue. One carved lintel at Yaxchilan◊ shows the ruler's consort pulling a barbed rope through her tongue as part of a ritual.