"forked tongue"

abc   Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:14 pm GMT
"This is just another "Snow" job. Washington has always spoken with forked tongue so what is new. "

What does that idiom mean?
Lazar   Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:23 pm GMT
This idiom ("to speak with a forked tongue") means to be dishonest or deceptive. It's related to the symbolic image of snakes as conniving and deceptive (which may be rooted in the biblical story of Adam and Eve being tricked by a serpent).
Uriel   Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:45 am GMT
I always heard it was an Indian (native American) expression, based on Plains sign language.
Damian in London N2   Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:13 am GMT
I've always associated it with snakes.....the forked tongue of the snake looking so threatening as it goes in and out of the gaping mouth. Of course, it's not the tongue that ejects the venom but it's the image of that forked tongue which people associate with evil. Just as with some people who use their tongues as weapons....to good effect.

btw: actually I quite like (unharmful) spam.....nice lightly fried with hot chili relish.
Uriel   Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:57 am GMT
Well, in the Plains sign language system, to speak with a forked tongue literally meant to speak with two tongues -- to lie. I don't know if it had anything to do with snakes as far as Indians were concerned.

Perhaps this is a case of different people attaching a different significance to the same term.
abc   Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:42 pm GMT
Thank youz