biting

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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 into (something or someone)

1. Literally, to clench between one's teeth, as of food. I can't wait to bite into my hamburger&mdash—I'm so hungry! Unfortunately, I didn't realize the casserole was still cold until I bit into it.
2. To cause one physical pain, as of the wind. When I couldn't stand the icy wind biting into me anymore, I ran for the ski lodge.
See also: bite

bite (one's) nails

1. Literally, to chew on one's fingernails and shorten them. I wish I didn't bite my nails, but it's been such a hard habit to try to break. My sister gets regular manicures to keep from biting her nails.
2. To nervously await something. I've been biting my nails ever since I submitted my application for my first-choice college.
See also: bite, nail

bite off

To use the teeth to pull off something. The bitten item can be named before or after "off." We had to take the dog to the vet after he bit off and ate a piece of a questionable-looking plant. Once the lollipop was soft enough, I bit it off the stick
See also: bite, off

bite on (something or someone)

1. Literally, to use the teeth to hold or take something; to chew on something. We had to take the dog to the vet after he bit on that questionable-looking plant. The teething baby bit on her rattle.
2. To be attracted to someone or something with an appealing, but ultimately false, promise. The fish are not biting on my lure today—do I need to use different bait? I can't believe those freshmen bit on the promise of going to a big party tonight. Once they get here, we're going to make them wash our gear instead!
3. To imitate or copy another person in some way. My little sister is constantly biting on me because she likes how I dress—it's so annoying!
See also: bite, on

bite the big one

1. slang To die. We were so lucky to avoid that massive accident—we could have bitten the big one!
2. vulgar slang To be remarkably bad, unpleasant, disappointing, or upsetting. Well, that movie bit the big one. I wish I could get my money back! Yeah, I heard that class bites the big one.
See also: big, bite, one

bite the bullet

To do or accept something unpleasant, often after a period of hesitation. The phrase is thought to have come from the military, perhaps because biting a bullet was a common practice for patients, due to a lack of anesthesia. I don't actually enjoy cleaning, but I bite the bullet and do it so that everything in my house isn't covered in a thick layer of dust. I know she's disappointed to have not gotten her dream job, but the sooner she bites the bullet and accepts it, the sooner she can move on.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

1. slang Of a person, to die. We were so lucky to avoid that massive accident—we might have bitten the dust!
2. slang Of a machine, to be near a complete breakdown or loss of functionality. Judging by all that noise coming from her car, I'm pretty sure it's about to bite the dust. I have to go buy a new blender because mine bit the dust today.
3. slang To become unpopular or irrelevant. Sadly, it doesn't take long for the latest technological innovations to bite the dust.
See also: bite, dust

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

bite something off

to remove something in a bite. Ann bit a piece off and chewed it up. She bit off a piece.
See also: bite, off

bite the big one

Sl. to die. I was so tired that I thought I was going to bite the big one. I hope I am old and gray when I bite the big one.
See also: big, bite, one

bite the bullet

Sl. to accept something difficult and try to live with it. You are just going to have to bite the bullet and make the best of it. Jim bit the bullet and accepted what he knew had to be.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

 
1. Sl. to die. A shot rang out, and another cowboy bit the dust. The soldier was too young to bite the dust.
2. Sl. to break; to fail; to give out. My old car finally bit the dust. This pen is out of ink and has bitten the dust.
See also: bite, dust

bite the big one

(slang)
to be very bad That movie really bites the big one.
See also: big, bite, one

bite the bullet

to do or accept something difficult or unpleasant We've all experienced unpleasant moments when we had to bite the bullet and apologize for something we did.
Etymology: based on the literal action of biting on bullets that was done by soldiers in the past who were operated on without drugs
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

to stop existing Back in the '50s we had many competitors, but most have bitten the dust. Another fashion fad has bitten the dust.
See also: bite, dust

bite the bullet

to make yourself do something or accept something difficult or unpleasant
Usage notes: When army doctors performed painful operations without drugs, they gave patients a bullet to put between their teeth.
They decided to bite the bullet and pay the extra for the house they really wanted. Car drivers are biting the bullet after another rise in petrol prices.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

 
1. (informal) to fail or to stop existing Three hundred more people lost their jobs in the same region when another firm bit the dust. She can't make it on Saturday? Oh, well, another good idea bites the dust!
2. (humorous) to die Two Hollywood stars of the thirties have recently bitten the dust.
See also: bite, dust

What's biting somebody?

  (informal)
something that you say in order to ask why someone is in a bad mood What's biting her? She hasn't said a word all morning.

nail-biting

a nail-biting event or period of time makes you feel very nervous, usually because you are waiting for something important to happen (always before noun) The teams were very evenly matched and played a close game right up to the nail-biting finish.

bite the bullet

Behave bravely or stoically when facing pain or a difficult situation, as in If they want to cut the budget deficit, they are going to have to bite the bullet and find new sources of revenue . This phrase is of military origin, but the precise allusion is uncertain. Some say it referred to the treatment of a wounded soldier without anesthesia, so that he would be asked to bite on a lead bullet during treatment. Also, Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796) holds that grenadiers being disciplined with the cat-o'nine-tails would bite on a bullet to avoid crying out in pain.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

Suffer defeat or death, as in The 1990 election saw both of our senators bite the dust. Although this expression was popularized by American Western films of the 1930s, in which either cowboys or Indians were thrown from their horses to the dusty ground, it originated much earlier. Tobias Smollett had it in Gil Blas (1750): "We made two of them bite the dust."
See also: bite, dust

bite the big one

tv. to die. I was so tired that I thought I was going to bite the big one.
See also: big, bite, one

bite the bullet

tv. to accept something difficult and try to live with it. You are just going to have to bite the bullet and make the best of it.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

1. tv. to die. A shot rang out, and another cowboy bit the dust.
2. tv. to break; to fail; to give out. My car finally bit the dust.
See also: bite, dust

bite the bullet

Slang
To face a painful situation bravely and stoically.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

Slang
1. To fall dead, especially in combat.
2. To be defeated.
3. To come to an end.
See also: bite, dust

bite the bullet

To bear up in an unpleasant or a difficult situation. In the days before anesthesia, a wounded soldier about to undergo surgery was given a bullet to clamp in his teeth and bear down on so he wouldn't bite off his tongue from the pain.
See also: bite, bullet
References in periodicals archive ?
Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan Dmitri Shostakovich's tragic and bitingly satiric opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, is one of the greatest operas of the 20th century, and this sizzling and steamy production from the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona attests to that fact.
And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, 'What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.
Another story that unfolds in a fragmentary and bitingly "realist" framework is Emma Unsworth's "Doppelganger.
Yet in sharp contrast to Out of America, Keith Richburg's bitingly pessimistic account of his years as an African- American correspondent covering the Rwandan genocide and clan warfare in Somalia, French, also an African American, sees Africa as a continent still dense with possibility.
Only Skin Deep presents many famous images, from Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression era tableau Migrant Mother to Gordon Parks's bitingly ironic American Gothic, a portrait of a downtrodden government charwoman with her mop and broom, to Charles Moore's harrowing shots of civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama, being pummeled by water canons.
Before the kick-off Burnley held a Parade of Legends featuring such ex-greats as Jimmy McIlroy and Martin Dobson but they must have left under-whelmed as this match never got going on a bitingly cold afternoon.
Anguillans, Naipaul bitingly remarks, "are not well-educated.
Nearby, a marquee houses an `Art against Corruption' exhibition of posters, photos and bitingly satirical cartoons.
He has been bitingly cruel in his character assassination of Winston Churchill, hostile in his attitude towards the British, and not very enthusiastic about the Americans' contribution to the overall conduct of pre-war and post-war situations in Europe and the Pacific.
A poignant, searing, and often bitingly funny collection of personal essays by almost two dozen writers--John Berendt, Brad Gooch, Allan Gurganus, and Sarah Schulman among them--the book remembers over 20 creative artists lost to AIDS in the past 20 years, including poet James Merrill, filmmaker Derek Jarman, and painter and writer David Wojnarowicz.
Where Manson's breakthrough album, Antichrist Superstar, featured clever wordplay and bitingly mocked his critics, in Holy Wood Manson's bleak obsession with death and all things subversive turns old and tired.
The plot is just as relevant and bitingly satirical, with plenty to say about the heartlessness of market forces.
He could be bitingly humorous as well, she said, recalling the occasion when Stowell, at Kirstein's request, introduced him to children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who designed Stowell's Nutcracker.
A curiously hard edged, ad-hoc spirit runs through the entire scheme, with its bitingly raw materiality of concrete and zinc.
Known for her bitingly funny first-person reportage as well as her Oscar-nominated screenplays, Ms.