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Tongue Trauma

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"There is no need to say anything more... The first thing I shall incinerate is your tongue."


The tongue, like the hands and feet, is a highly innervated area of the body, and also has an extremely rich blood supply, as to be expected of one of the body's sensory organs. For obvious reasons, injuries inflicted on it are gonna hurt.

Thus, this trope encompasses damage done to the tongue of any kind, including the following:

  • Someone's tongue getting burnt.
  • Someone biting their own tongue. Bonus points if they intend to to commit Tongue Suicide this way.
  • 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.
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  • Someone's tongue getting stuck on extremely cold metal.
  • Someone's tongue comedically throbbing.

Naturally with this trope, you may expect Nausea Fuel and/or Nightmare Fuel.

It overlaps with Attack the Mouth if done deliberately.

A Sister Trope of Eye Scream, and Fingore.

Compare Overly Long Tongue.

Unrelated to Tongue Twister unless we're being literal.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played for laughs in Attack on Titan, with Oluo being prone to biting his tongue whenever he attempts to ride on horseback and speak at the same time. It serves as a sort of instant karma, as it usually occurs when he's running his mouth.
    • Also played straight in ancient Eldian history: the Eldians cut out the tongues of people they have captured and enslaved. This included Ymir, the girl who would become the very first Titan.
  • Happens in the second Baki the Grappler series, during the fight between Muhammad Ali Jr. and Jack Hammer. Ali, already heavily beaten, makes the mistake of taunting Hammer by opening his mouth wide and sticking out his tongue. Hammer responds by punching him in the face, causing Ali's tongue to get almost sliced in half by his own teeth. Ali later ends up getting tongue surgery and still finds it hard to speak afterwards.
  • Berserk: When Guts and the Hawks come to rescue Griffith at Wyndham Tower a year after his capture and torture by the King of Midland we see that he is physically crippled with the tendons in his wrists and ankles severed and his tongue cut out. Guts then proceeds to tear out the torturer's tongue on seeing him wearing Griffith's tongue around his neck - "I'm not letting you go to Hell two-tongued!"
  • Tsuaiji, a minor character from Blade of the Immortal, bites her tongue and dies while being tortured for information about her former lover. It's not pretty.
  • Bleach:
    • While fighting the hollow Shrieker, Ichigo punches through his teeth and rips off the end of his tongue.
    • When Charlotte Chuhlhourne attempts to call one of his ridiculous-sounding attacks (for the record, all his attack names are more than ten words long), he bites his tongue.
  • One Monster of the Week in Buso Renkin bites his tongue off after he is captured by the heroes. He forgot that homunculi don't die of blood loss.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • During the Deep Blood arc, Touma suckers Stiyl into sticking his tongue out, then uppercuts him.
    • Vento of The Front also did this to herself by attaching a cross on a length of chain to her tongue in addition to her numerous other piercings. It gives her access to an ability called God's Divine Punishment that causes people who feel hostile towards her to be deprived of oxygen. Over the course of the story she has it forcibly ripped out of her tongue twice, once by Touma and once by a Face–Heel Turn'ed Fiamma.
  • In Cross Ange, when Embryo uses his powers to force Ange to kiss him, she snaps out of it and angrily bites his tongue off and spits it out. He then uses his powers to restore it a few seconds later.
  • Misa Amane in Death Note tries to bite her tongue off because Rem won't kill her, but Watari gags her just before she can do it.
  • In D.Gray-Man the Noah Fiddler has a rather horrible tongue. It seems to be a deadly parasite that he has infected Lavi and Chaozii with. So far, it has been left up to the reader's imagination how they got there.
  • As in the page quote, Roy Mustang of Fullmetal Alchemist promises to incinerate the mouthy Envy's tongue first. He then suits actions to words.
    Roy: It's kind of interesting how quickly the tongue can be rendered to a bubbling grease. It's surprising how easily it burns, isn't it?
  • Ichi the Killer: Kakihara punishes himself for a transgression by slicing off the tip of his tongue, lampshading the side effects by noting that this means he won't be able to taste sweetness anymore.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: Tower of Gray's signature attack is a chain hookshot that sticks and splits the victim's tongue in half. Interestingly, its master, Gray Fly, also has his tongue automatically split as well upon his defeat.
  • In Murciélago, Koumori gets the tip of her tongue split by a sword strike that she doesn't quite dodge enough.
  • Naruto:
    • The Bridge saga has a woman threaten this to save her son. The Generic Thugs say they only need one hostage, so they'll kill the boy, but his mother replies that if they do that she'll bite her tongue off and drown in the blood.
    • Naraka Path's form of torture interrogation (pulling out one's tongue and ripping it out when proven lying).
    • Kisame, after being captured, bites his own tongue to get out of any hypnotic state.
  • Comedic example happens in Negima! Magister Negi Magi where Yue bites her tongue while she was incanting a magic spell when Makie asked her if she likes Negi.
  • One Piece:
    • A former pirate captain who was about to be sold as a slave opted for biting off his own tongue instead. However, he was shown later alive and well, though with a shorter tongue.
    • Later on, Bartolomeo stabs someone in the tongue for badmouthing Luffy (only in the manga though).
  • Wise Yuri, a villain from O-Parts Hunter gets a piercing for every person he has killed, and has at least twenty on his tongue.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: In "The Diet Syndrome", Stocking jams a fork into Chuck's tongue before kicking him a few times for trying to get into her sweets.
  • Pokémon the Series: Black & White: In "A Connoisseur's Revenge!", Burgundy criticizes Ash's Snivy's scent and sharp eyes, then attempts to lick her to see how she tastes. Snivy is rightfully incensed and Vine Whips Burgundy's tongue, causing her to remark that Snivy also has zero respect for said tongue.
  • A really terrifying example of how this trope can go From Bad to Worse is the Junji Ito short story Slug Girl. A girl's tongue turns into a living slug (no explanation is given on how the hell that could happen, but then again, it's one of the usual Cosmic Horror Story tendencies of Ito's stories), robbing her of the ability to talk and eat. She cuts the "tongue" off with scissors (yet another painful example), but it grows out again as a slug. As a Downer Ending, She is put into a bathtub filled with salt in the hope that the slug will be killed by that. It seems to work, but the salt also makes her body shrink into nothing so only her head is left. Her parents pour water on her in the hope that her body will grow back, but it only resurrects the slug. It now becomes a snail, using what's left of the girl (that is, her slightly Shrunken Head) as a shell. It's strongly implied that the girl is still alive and aware of what's going on, but since she now only exists as a snail shell, all she can do is send sad gazes to all onlookers...
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • In chapter 79 Mutsuki is revealed to have a split personality that likes to cut out the tongues of animals and keep them in a jar. One of the things he does to get revenge on Torso involves cutting out his tongue.
    • Kijima tortures a man by cutting out his tongue when he wouldn't give him information. His reasoning was that if the man wasn't going to speak then he didn't need his tongue.
  • In episode 11 of Umineko: When They Cry, Rosa is force-fed the remains of her siblings and daughter which includes "a salad made of Eva's tongue".
  • In the manga spinoff of seitokai no ichizochi character named Saionji Tsukushi bites her tongue by accident during her presentation for the president conceil.
  • In chapter 56 of the manga Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest Haguro Dou decides to up his freakiness by kissing a battered Chiba, taking that opportunity to tear out his tongue, and then rape him. All because Inugami happened to run into him in the street earlier. The term "serious problems" doesn't even begin to describe this guy.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Kuwabara's sister Shizuru takes out a demon harassing her by burning his tongue with her cigarette.

    Comic Books 
  • In Bone, Roque Ja/Rock Jaw cuts out Kingdok's, leading to a literal "Cat got your tongue?"
  • The Boys: A flashback in the Dear Becky epilogue miniseries published years after the main series ended its run shows Butcher cutting out the tongue of a ten-year-old rapist who is implied to be an expy of Shazam! to prevent him from saying his magic word.
  • 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.
  • Dungeon Twilight: Marvin use is race power that gives him an ability in exchange of losing one deliberately like this. He rips his tongue off to gain wings and rips his wings to grow his tongue back.
  • 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 Batman (Grant Morrison).
  • 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 Robyn Hood: The Hunt #6, Robyn puts an arrow through the Overly Long Tongue of one of her attackers.
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • Terry and the Pirates: The event itself is not depicted, but the reason why Big Stoop is mute is that he was once a servant of the Dragon Lady; she cut out his tongue when he was young, earning his hatred.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Against a Crooked Sky, the aptly named Cut Tongue used to be a member of the Crooked Sky tribe, until his tongue was cut out by his rival for the position of chief, and he was Left for Dead in the desert.
  • During the climax of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), 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.
  • 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.
  • Angry White Man: While in the washroom, waiting for his turn at singing, Skeeter slips and falls, biting his tongue when he crashes. In doing so, he rendered himself unable to sing properly, so Maxine decides to sing in his stead.
  • 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.
  • One of the first sign that something very wrong happened in The Autopsy of Jane Doe is when the two coroners discover that Jane Doe's tongue has been torn off.
  • 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.
  • A Classic Horror Story: When the group finds Chiara in a hay cocoon in the attic, they deduce she had her tongue removed... because they see it in a mason jar full of water. It's actually a prop.
  • The Climax: After kidnapping Angela from the theatre, Dr. Hohner takes a scalpel and is preparing to cut out her tongue when Luise intervenes.
  • Clown Motel: Casey gets her tongue ripped out by one of the clowns in the mine.
  • In Dead Silence, Mary Shaw's prime method of killing is ripping out her victims' tongues.
  • In The Dentist Dr. Alan Feinstone, the crazed titular dentist, spots his wife Brooke having sex with the pool boy. He decides to punish her by cutting off her tongue. She survives for the sequel, but she's left mute for life.
  • Discussed in Django Unchained, where Stephen mentions that "one word of sass" from the slaves at the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company gets their tongues cut out. They're good at it, too, so the poor saps don't even get the mercy of bleeding out.
  • In Dr. Giggles, Dianne is killed when Dr. Giggles shoves a sharpened thermometer through the base of her tongue. And onward.
  • 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 opening massacre of Ebola Syndrome concludes with the villain, Kai, having killed his ex-boss after being caught having an affair, snipping off the mistress' tongue with a pair of scissors. Accompanied by a small geyser of red sauce. It's on the film's Nightmare Fuel subpage.
  • Emperor (2020): The first person to help Shields is a slave who had his tongue cut out because of how talkative he was.
  • 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.
  • The Final: After Riggs opens his big mouth once too often, Dane orders his tongue to cut out. Jack seizes the tongue with a pair of tongs, and Andy prepares to cut it out with a knife. Riggs is saved by the return of Kurtis.
  • Discussed in Frankenstein 1970. Victor keeps making veiled threats to Gottfried about what happened to an overly inquisitive commandant at Belsen. He eventually reveals that the commandant disappeared for several days and, when his body was found, his tongue had been cut out.
  • In The Goonies, Mama Fratelli threatens to sever Mouth's tongue.
  • In The Hazing, Roy bites off his own tongue after Professor Kapps transforms it into an Overly Long Tongue with a mind of its own.
  • In Ichi the Killer, protagonist Kakihara slices off the tip of his own tongue. Of course being a masochist he enjoys it immensely.
  • I Spit on Your Grave: In a revenge kill, Jennifer puts lye in a bathtub one of her rapists is suspended over and lets him fall in. Cue his face burning off, including his eyes, and even his tongue.
  • In Jeepers Creepers, the Creeper uses his teeth to remove the tongue from a cop's severed head.
  • In John Doe: Vigilante, members of the S4D movement start attacking the lawyers who had defended John Doe's targets. In at least one case, they cut out the lawyer's tongue.
  • In Julia X, Jessica seizes Sam's tongue in a pair of pincers and is about to rip it out when Julia stops her.
  • In Kill Bill, The Bride bites a rapist's tongue when he tries to French Kiss her.
  • King Kong (2005): King Kong rips out an attacking T Rex's tongue with his teeth.
  • In Mark of the Devil, an accused witch has her tongue pulled out with crocodile shears.
  • In The Midnight Meat Train, Bradley Cooper's character gets his tongue ripped off by another character's teeth.
  • Million Dollar Baby: After she's paralyzed, Maggie tries to commit suicide by biting through her tongue.
  • Mirror Mirror (1990): After murdering Kim in the bathroom, Megan cuts her tongue out with a shard of broken mirror.
  • In Mohawk, Colonel Holt forces his son Myles to pour boiling water into Calvin's mouth as part of his Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Kharis's tongue was cut before he was wrapped in shrouds and entombed alive in The Mummy (1959).
  • 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 Oldboy (2003), Dae-su cuts out his own tongue with scissors.
  • In Pacific Rim, Gipsy "disarms" Otachi's acid-spewing ability by ripping out her tongue and associated gland.
  • 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.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Cotton has had his tongue cut out and trained his parrot to talk for him. "No one's yet figured how."
    • One of the Pirate Lords named Gentleman Jocard is infamous for doing this to his enemies and demonstrates it when he is so displeased with Barbossa that he shouts for someone to cut out his tongue. Jack Sparrow gleefully encourages doing this to his mortal enemy. "Shoot him. Cut out his tongue. And shoot his tongue."
  • In The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), Torquemada cuts out Maria's tongue with a pair of shears so she can tell no one of his impotence.
  • In Rat Race, Randall Pear has a heated up car cigarette lighter fall into his mouth.
    • Blaine has already endured this as he shows off his tongue piercing which he did himself.
  • Resident Evil (2002). 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 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 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves the Sherrif threatens to cut out Will Scarlet's tongue. This is one of his more plausable threats.
  • In Rovdyr, Roger, Camilla and Jorgen find one of the hunters' previous victims strung up on a tree. The Almost Dead Guy has had his tongue cut out.
  • A Played for Laughs example is featured in Scary Movie, where Cindy kisses Bobby and gets her tongue tied up with his.
  • The "Sloth" victim from Se7en bit off and ate his own tongue.
  • In Silent Tongue, the title character had her tongue cut out for lying to the headman.
  • In Snatched (2017), retired special ops agent Barb has cut out her own tongue to prevent herself from being interrogated. When Emily asks, "Couldn't they just torture her into writing down the information?" her partner Ruth stares awkwardly for a few seconds before changing the subject.
  • In Spiral (2021), the opening trap involves a Dirty Cop who lied under oath having to either rip out his own tongue or be hit by an oncoming subway train. After much struggling, agony, and Blood from the Mouth, he finally succeeds, only to be hit by the train anyway, screaming as he disappears in a shower of gore.
  • Tamara: Under Tamara's control, Roger cuts out his own tongue.
  • In Ten Dead Men, Ryan cuts out Bruiser's tongue with a piece of broken glass and keeps it as a Creepy Souvenir.
  • The most persistent Graboid in Tremors is nicknamed Stumpy because one of its three grasping tongues got torn off when it first tried to eat Val and Earl's pickup truck. The ripped-off tongue is mistaken for a snake-like mutation when it's found tangled around their axle, and is bought by Walter for $15. We don't see how Stumpy reacted to it, but another Graboid gets one of its tongues blown off by Heather Grummer shooting it repeatedly with a shotgun to save her husband Burt, and it briefly stops attacking them to jerk its head up and smash through their basement ceiling with a loud scream.
  • 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.
  • Truth or Dare (2018): In an effort to return Calux whence he came, Carter starts cutting his own tongue out (the same as Inez had done during the original game). He his killed when he is part way through.
  • The '80s 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.
  • The first thing The Warlock does in the movie of the same name is bite some poor shmuck's tongue off and make an omelet of it.
  • Freddy gets a knife through his extra-long tongue in a scene from Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
  • Winterskin: Near the end of the movie, Agnes cuts Pete's tongue off and eats it.
  • Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled: The Djinn uses his powers to force someone over the phone to rip out his own tongue.

  • In at least two Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Trial of Champions and The Crimson Tide, you will have to fight the massive, fleshy tongue of some unknown monster that sticks out of the mouth of a face-shaped doorway. Said tongues can constrict and throttle you in an attempt to kill you, but their stats are both quite low and slinks away upon being slashed enough times.

  • 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.

  • In the Alex Rider story "Stormbreaker", Mr Grin is a former circus performer who's signature trick was catching a knife between his teeth as part of a Knife-Throwing Act. The trick went horribly wrong one night, and he was left with an injured tongue, difficulty speaking, and a Glasgow Grin.
  • 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 Bird Woman tears out Spider's tongue in Anansi Boys after she gets tired of him trying to talk his way out.
  • Bazil Broketail: In Ourdh it's common for slaves to have their tongues removed-"muted" as they call it.
  • In A Brother's Price, a male corpse is discovered. As he is half-naked, they first suspect that he was overdosed with date-rape drugs, but then someone notices a trace of blood coming from his mouth - his tongue has been cut, with the intent to silence him, but so badly that he died from it.
  • 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.
  • Occurs during the demise of Randall Flagg near the end of The Dark Tower series.
  • 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.
  • Nicodemus's human followers in The Dresden Files have had their tongues removed as part of their initiation in order to encourage secrecy and isolation. During Skin Game, we learn that Deirdre (his daughter) does it to them with her Denarian form, while in the middle of a kiss.
    • Additionally, during Changes, Susan grabs a Red Court Vampire by the tongue in its true bat-monster form, and then rips said tongue right out with her bare hands.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gatling: In Outlaw Empire, the attorney Metcalf has his tongue pulled out by the roots by members of the Sydney Ducks because he knows too much.
  • In Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, this is part of Xue Yang's MO. He removes the tongues of his living victims so they can't reveal they're actually human when he tricks his blind nemesis into killing them under the assumption that they're dangerous zombies. It doubles in his favour when one of his victims comes back as a Vengeful Ghost, as she can't verbally ask anyone for help.
  • In The Hunger Games (which takes place is a futuristic dystopia) criminals have their tongues cut out and become Avoxes.
  • The High Priest (Priestess?) from the Inheritance Cycle had part of their tongue cut out as part of a self-mutilation ritual. However, that's barely noticeable considering that they're also missing all four limbs.
  • The Ritual of Chüd in Stephen King's IT.
  • 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.
  • The adult Tyrannosaurus in Jurassic Park finally falls asleep from the tranquilizer that hit it an hour as it's about to pull Tim into its mouth using a long, prehensile tongue. As it gets knocked out, it clamps down on its tongue unconsciously, causing severe bleeding from biting itself with its huge teeth.
  • The original fairy tale of The Little Mermaid has the sea witch cut off the mermaid's tongue as payment for the human legs.
  • 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 the short story "The Midnight Meat Train" by Clive Barker, the protagonist Leon Kaufman gets his tongue ripped out and then eaten in front of him by one of the Elders in order to ensure he stays silent about his new job as their butcher.
  • Oliver Twisted: The Sowerberrys plan to cut off Oliver's tongue to get a reaction out of him, but they are interrupted before they could do so.
  • 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.
  • In The Roman Mysteries, Lupus had his tongue cut out before the stories start.
  • 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. There is also mention made of a past incident of Lecter attacking a nurse and eating her tongue, among other damage.
  • 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.
  • Split Heirs: Mungli lost most of her tongue to her lover's senior wife, who cast a spell on her after she'd insulted her.
  • 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.
  • The Japanese fairy tale The Tongue-Cut Sparrow features the wicked wife of a kindly old man cutting off a sparrow's tongue.
  • In Triptych, set in Atlanta, Georgia, the detectives are hunting a killer who bites out his victims' tongues.
  • 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.
    • Some of her supporters cut their own tongues out in solidarity.
  • Warrior Cats: In Forest of Secrets, in the battle against Tigerclaw's rogues, Graystripe gets a scratched tongue that won't stop bleeding. The medicine cat apprentice doesn't know what to do for it, so she sends Fireheart to fetch her mentor.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 and die of a broken neck.
  • Angel
    • In "Sacrifice" 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.
    • Averted in "Loyalty". When Wesley turns up alone at Holtz's hideout, one of his mooks suggests cutting out his tongue as a message to Angel. Wesley punches him in the throat. "Or perhaps you could lie on the floor and gag for a while."
  • The Boys: In "The Only Man In The Sky" Stormfront killed herself by biting through her tongue.
  • CSI: NY had two instances of this.
    • In the season 4 premiere, "Can You Hear Me Now?", the perp cuts one of his victims' tongue out for not reporting a crime he'd witnessed. Mac is visibly shaken when telling Stella the man died after being taken to the hospital.
    • In the second part of the season 8 crossover with CSI, "Seth and Apep," when his girlfriend is kidnapped, a tongue is sent to Mac at the precinct. Thinking it's hers, he gets the same look on his face.
  • An episode of The Eric Andre Show had him shear off the tip of his tongue for seemingly no reason.
  • 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.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Khal Drogo 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.
    • It is said that Euron cut out the tongues of his entire crew.
  • 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 Hannibal, Bedelia Du Maurier retired from psychiatry after a patient had a breakdown and attacked her, only to choke to death on his tongue. As she later observes, "It wasn't attached at the time."
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: In "The Last of the Watermen", Pembleton and Felton investigate the murder of an old woman, whose tongue had been cut out and shoved back in her mouth. They eventually find out her teenage grandson had killed her; when they question him as to why he did, he simply shrugs and admits he didn't really have a reason. The closest he can think of is that she talked too much.
  • The House episode "No Reason" has a patient with a swollen tongue that swells so much it fills up his entire mouth.
  • The Longest Day in Chang'an: Cui Liu Lang died of blood loss after his tongue was torn out. When Xiao Jing examines the body he sees two cuts on his neck, implying the Wolf Squad pulled Liu Lang's tongue out through his throat.
  • 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.
  • In the 2000s Taiwanese Palace Drama, Princess Huai-Yu, the vile head concubine Cheng Yun, after her attempt to have the titular Princess exiled was uncovered by an innocent handmaiden whom the Princess is close to (and considers a younger sister), then had the handmaiden framed, thrown into a dungeon and for good measure, have her tongue sliced off because She Knows Too Much. The poor maid ends up dying of blood loss within a day, but her death serves to alert Huai-yu that one of her "friends" in the palace is actually plotting behind her back.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Several monsters in the Ultra Series has long, prehensile tongues which allows them to grab onto different Ultras, but most of the time this only results in those kaijus getting their tongues sliced off instead. Like Sabotendar in Ultraman Ace (via laser), Jirenma from Ultraman Taro (via horn beam), Gabishale from Ultraman 80 (via palm blaster) and Black Garon from Ultraman Leo (this one results in the entire tongue exploding, causing a chain of detonations that kills this monster).

  • 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.
  • The cover artwork for Hellion album Will Not Go Quietly depicts some poor guy getting his tongue ripped out.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Indian/Bengali legend of Lilavathi is a fun example. Lilavathi was 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.
  • The Bible:
    • "The mouth of the righteous produces wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out." (Proverbs 10:31)
    • The first of the seven brothers to be martyred for remaining faithful to God's Law in the face of King Antiochus forcing all Jews to be Hellenized in the apocryphal book of 2nd Maccabees had his tongue cut out before he was roasted in the fire.
  • In Japanese Buddhist folklore, a superstition to prevent children from lying is that if you do so, the King of Hell, Enma (based on the Hindu god Yama), will cut your tongue.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Clan Giovanni have this down to a fine art in Vampire: The Masquerade. The standard punishment for vampires who make the mistake of calling Augustus Giovanni "Uncle Augie" begins with the offender having their tongue cut out with a pair of pliers; the second half involves a severed finger forced into the offender's mouth, so that once the vampire body starts to heal, the finger will be merged with the stump of the tongue. Needless to say, the victim is left humiliated and mute until such time as they can remove the finger themselves. Of course, there's another variant based on the "Colombian Necktie" - once again leaving the victim disfigured, mute and humiliated until they can cut their own throat all over again and put their tongue back in place.


    Theme Parks 
  • Universal's Halloween Horror Nights:
    • The Storyteller (AKA Elsa Strict) has twice in the event done a performance where she cuts out the tongue of a helpless victim with scissors.
    • The haunted house The Mummy from 1999 had mummified priests tearing out the tongues of some unlucky excavators.

    Video Games 
  • The servant grunt from Amnesia: The Dark Descent has a pretty gruesome mouth area in general.
  • Corpse Party: Seems to be Sachiko's favorite way of tormenting her victims. It happened to her, as well.
  • Anastacia of Astora from Dark Souls had her tongue cut out to prevent her from saying anything blasphemous. Apparently she consented to this, since if she is killed by Lautrec and then revived by you, she will get her tongue back, and begs you not to speak to her so that she can keep silent and refrain from using her "impure" tongue to answer you.
  • In Penumbra: Overture, a scientist trapped in the North-Western Iron Mine began eating a species of spider when searching for food, only to eventually discover that the chemicals inside the spiders were toxic, forcing him to amputate his own tongue with a pen knife. For bonus points, you can find this tongue in another room and play around with it.
  • In Deadly Premonition, the Raincoat Killer bites out his victims' tongues.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Mean Sonofabitch, the friendly Super Mutant had his tongue cut out by NCR soldiers, which explains his generally unintelligible dialogue.
  • The first boss of House of the Dead 4 is a hulking, gigantic zombie who is completely invincible... save for its tongue. You spend the entire boss fight pumping Uzi rounds into the tongue as it tries to chomp on you, and it goes down after having its tongue riddled by what seems to be two hundred or so bullets.
  • 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...
  • In Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong the Player Character can learn about the Yama Kings, beings made from pure misery that reputedly haunt Kowloon Walled City. One such Yama King is Qian Ya, The Queen of a Thousand Teeth, Yama King of the enslaved, whose cultists/victims bite off their own tongues in homage to her. You encounter some of those during the endgame, who all appear to have done so.
  • Swollen tongues get chopped off in Theme Hospital.
  • The Walking Dead: The Final Season: If you picked Violet over Louis to save from the Delta at the end of Episode 2, Clementine is horrified to learn upon rescuing Louis, Omar, and Aasim that Louis' tongue was cut out for being too talkative. It's incredibly heartbreaking to see how traumatized and broken he is by the experience, cowering in the corner when you find him and clinging onto Clementine for dear life. Especially heartbreaking since Louis is the joker/singer of the group, who has now been rendered voiceless. But if you play your cards right to help him survive Episode 4, in the final scene, you can see him smiling while eating dinner with everyone else, so at least not all of his happiness and hope has been dashed.
  • The Memento Mori of The Oni from Dead by Daylight has him rip the unlucky survivor's tongue out with his bare hands before crushing it. And then crushing them with his Kanabo. In his backstory, he likewise ripped out the tongue of the Lord who gave him the nickname 'Oni-Yamaoka'.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Analogue: A Hate Story, this is how the Kims "silence" the Pale Bride.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • In the first arc, one of Keiichi's friends gives him riceballs. They have an ominously threatening conversation, and after she leaves his house, Keiichi tries one. There's a piercing sensation on his tongue, so when he looks to see what he's bitten into... There's a needle in it. It turns out that because of the Hate Plague causing hallucinations, Keiichi perceived the conversation as hostile when it actually wasn't (Mion was teasing him), and the riceballs had hot sauce inside.
    • Later on, Rika threatens to bite her tongue and commit suicide but she's gagged beforehand.

    Web Animation 
  • This is Sniffles' gimmick on Happy Tree Friends.
    • Other characters suffer this fate sometimes.

  • Dum from Dum Cat licks a chainsaw in one installment, though is somehow uninjured.
  • Drowtales:
    • A young Illhar'dro girl named Ishii nearly has her tongue cut out after attempting to use her Compelling Voice to calm some angry commoners. She shows up later alive but Word of God says her tongue was not completely removed but damaged enough that she's never quite the same.
    • Later, another drow named Verthandi almost gets subjected to this when her kin decide she's a traitor and decide to cut her tongue out to silence her, but their clan leader intervenes before it can go any further.
  • In Grrl Power, main character Sydney reacts to being surprised by a bank robber by grabbing him by the tongue and shoulder throwing him to the ground. The fact that he shows no sign of injury as a result of this is what clues Maxima to the fact that he's actually her teammate Mr Amorphous in disguise who was there to fake a robbery in order for her to thwart.
  • In the Housepets! arc "The Hot Springs Episode", Sasha yanks Fox into a shower stall in the portable spa Keene was renting, and convinces him to smooch with her. When Sasha's boyfriend, Kevin, walks in on them, Fox bites Sasha's tongue.
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • Landis, of Antlers Colorado bites his tongue nearly in half as part of a plan to escape police custody in his third POV section of Chapter Two. His plan works, though it's mentioned in subsequent Landis POV sections of Chapter Two that his tongue still hurts and he has trouble talking.
  • 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.
  • In the SuperMarioLogan video "The Drone", Junior cuts his tongue off by putting it on the blades of...take a guess. Even after Cody told him not to.
  • 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 T.O.T., Maximus Slade tears Umberton's tongue from his mouth, and then brutally eviscerates him.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 Courage the Cowardly Dog, Courage occasionally gets his tongue stomped on, electrocuted, or burned to a crisp. He also got his tongue caught in a bear trap in one episode, and even ripped off by a lollipop as a puppy.
  • 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.
  • Family Guy: In "The Griffin Winter Games", Stewie trips while figure skating, causing him to bite off and swallow the end of his tongue.
  • One of the least-fortunate residents of Foster's 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 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).
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel", Li'l Gideon tries to use his telekinetic powers to cut out Dipper's tongue.
      Gideon: I'm gonna make sure you never lie to me again...friend.
    • In "Carpet Diem," Dipper says an owl tried to eat his tongue while he was sleeping outside. That poor tongue can not catch a break.
    • In "Sock Opera", Bill Cipher offers Dipper a disembodied "head that's always screaming", which also ties its tongue in a knot as it does so.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • In "The Really Odd Couple", Mandy deals with Billy's tendency to keep stepping over his line of the room by pulling his tongue out more than a tongue should go.
    • In "Which Came First?", Billy gets his tongue burned off by acidic egg yolk from the mutant chickens' eggs thanks to him wanting to sample them. First, it gets blisters, then it turns gray and swollen and falls apart.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 119, Mr. Cat threatens to rip out Stumpy's tongue to prevent him from telling Kaeloo a secret, but settles for just stretching it out as far as it will go and then having a sheep lick it.
  • In The Legend of Vox Machina, Professor Anders' tongue has been enchanted by the Briarwoods to allow him to control people (a literal silver tongue), and he uses it to charm the rest of Vox Machina into trying to kill Percy. Percy eventually manages to pull off an impressive trick shot that shoots Anders' tongue out of his mouth; it moves across the floor on its own before Grog stabs it with an arrow.
  • 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 My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Family Appreciation Day", Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle decide to help Apple Bloom fake being sick so she doesn't have to come to school (and risk being embarrassed by Granny Smith). They heat up a thermometer and stick it in her mouth, and it burns her tongue.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "The Boys Are Back In Town", after getting sick of being beaten by the recently-resurrected Rowdyruff Boys, Buttercup punches Butch, causing him to bite his tongue.
  • This happens quite a few times in The Ren & Stimpy Show:
    • In "Mad Dog Hoek", during a rant, Stimpy's tongue stretches and snaps off.
    • In "The Magical Singing Cheeses", Stimpy rips his tongue off a frozen flagpole during a showdown of stupidity with the Village Idiot.
    • Ren has had his share, too. In one episode, his tongue got burned off and in another, he got stung in the mouth and tongue by bees that were somehow in his and Stimpy's canteen.
  • Silencio, one of the main characters of Seis Manos, is mute. A flashback in the third episode reveals that this is the result of getting his tongue mutilated with a knife at the hands of El Balde.
  • 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.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", Sandy has a fight with an Alaskan Bullworm and leaves its body tied in a knot. Turns out it was only the worm's tongue.
    • In "Krabby Land", SpongeBob injures himself to entertain some kids. One of the ways he does so is to repeatedly get his tongue run over by a truck.
    • In "Cephalopod Lodge", Squidward gets kicked out of the episode-naming club. In an attempt to cheer him up, SpongeBob and Patrick start their own club and invite him to join in. They even invented an "initiation rite", which has the new member's tongue stung by a jellyfish. SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward (by force, twice) went through this rite.
  • In Teen Titans (2003), Beast Boy (as an aardvark) got his tongue stepped on.
  • Plucky Duck has several of these in Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. "Tongue Joke no. 10."
  • In the short cartoon Tongue Twister by Sean Scott, a character whose tongue is stuck to a flagpole takes a saw to it.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • Biting too hard on a glass thermometer while it's warming up under one's tongue can cause nasty cuts to its underside, possibly contaminated with mercury if it's an older model.
  • 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.
  • Like any organ, the tongue can sometimes develop cancer which may necessitate the removal of the afflicted portion.
  • Can happen to a frog, toad, or chameleon that extends its tongue to capture a stinging insect or spider. Also to bears lapping honey from wild beehives, and to feeding anteaters, aardvarks or pangolins that keep on lapping up prey even after soldier ants or termites have mustered for a counterattack.
  • Children with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain often unintentionally inflict this on themselves.
  • At Canada's infamously brutal Assimilation Academies for Native students, a needle through the tongue was a common punishment for speaking a Native language instead of English. Worse, this was only one of the residential school system's innumerable abuses.
  • During The Cavalier Years, some communities in Britain used a device called a scold's bridle to punish "scolds"—an actual legal designation for disruptive women back then. The device was a mask (sometimes resembling grotesque faces to add insult to injury) with a spiked mouth gag, so the wearer couldn't talk without wounding her tongue.
  • A Taiwanese fanartist known as Avimedes was offered homemade cookies at a convention. The needles hidden inside the cookies pierced her tongue. It's believed that she may have been given the cookies because she draws Sans/Frisk art, which a fellow fan really didn't like.


Video Example(s):


False Witness

The latest of the Ten Commandments Killer's atrocities features the staff of a gossip site having their tongues nailed to their desks - a punishment for bearing false witness.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / TongueTrauma

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