tongs: [OE] The etymological notion underlying the word tongs is of ‘biting’. It comes from a prehistoric Germanic *tanguz (source also of German zange, Dutch and Danish tang, and Swedish tång), which went back ultimately to the Indo-European base *dank- ‘bite’ (ancestor of Greek dáknein ‘bite’). (Tong ‘Chinese secret society’ , incidentally, comes from Cantonese tong ‘assembly hall’.)
Old English tange, tang "tongs, pincers, foreceps, instrument for holding and lifting," from Proto-Germanic *tango (cognates: Old Saxon tanga, Old Norse töng, Swedish tång, Old Frisian tange, Middle Dutch tanghe, Dutch tang, Old High German zanga, German Zange "tongs"), literally "that which bites," from PIE root *denk- "to bite" (cognates: Sanskrit dasati "biter;" Greek daknein "to bite," dax "biting"). For sense evolution, compare French mordache "tongs," from mordre "to bite."
1. a pair of tongs
2. She used tongs to put some more coal on the fire.
3. The waiter lifted rolls from a basket with a pair of silver tongs.
4. They yell, shout and argue. For six hours a night they go at it, hammer and tongs.
5. He loved gardening. He went at it hammer and tongs as soon as he got back from work.