Tooth and nail

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3 comments on this post.
  1. Danny S.:

    “Tooth and nail” has always suggested a kind of animalistic intensity to me, probably because I was associating it with the phrase “nature red in tooth and claw”. As for “tooth and tong”, I never heard of it either, but I suspect Truman Capote’s odd usage of it comes from confusing the “tong” in that phrase (either accidentally or deliberately) with the Chinese secret society sense of “tong”.

  2. OwenKL:

    The mashup may be wider and more pronounced than you say. Tong could be a phonetic spelling for tongue, and Google will give you more hits for “tooth and tongue” than for “tooth and tong.” But both of those pale in comparison to “tongue and groove”, parts that are opposite, but fit together because they are opposites, male and female, yin and yang.

  3. Darla:

    Tooth and tong was the only version I heard growing
    up in northern Maine. I like the idea of tooth and tongue since we did believe in wars through words, but always personally thought of it in relation to log drivers and the logging industry way back when.

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