1. n. [Drilling]
Large-capacity, self-locking wrenches used to grip drillstring components and apply torque. As with opposing pipe wrenches for a plumber, the tongs must be used in opposing pairs. As a matter of efficiency, one set of tongs is essentially tied off with a cable or chain to the derrick, and the other is actively pulled with mechanical catheads. The breakout tongs are the active tongs during breakout (or loosening) operations. The makeup tongs are active during makeup (or tightening) operations.