bite back

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bite back

1. To stop oneself from saying something that is potentially inappropriate, hurtful, or offensive. I had to bite back a snarky comment as my sister gushed about her new boyfriend.
2. To retaliate against a verbal attack. I wouldn't talk badly about Tiffany, if I were you—she bites back. I mean, you heard the vicious rumor she started about the girl who stole her boyfriend!
3. To retaliate by biting, as by an animal. The dog lunged at the cat, and the cat bit back.
See also: back, bite

bite back

 (at someone or something)
1. Lit. to defend an attack by biting at someone or something. (Usually an animal.) I threatened the dog and the dog bit back.
2. Fig. to fight back at someone; to return someone's anger or attack; to speak back to someone with anger. She is usually tolerant, but she will bite back if pressed. Yes, she will bite back.
See also: back, bite