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—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

nail-biting

Causing intense anxiety or nervousness, usually implying an uncertain outcome that will have important consequences. Forsberg's late goal has tied the game and created a nail-biting final period. We felt confident going into election day, but it's been a nail-biting last few hours.

What's biting (someone)?

What's bothering someone? Why is someone in a bad mood? What's biting Terry today? I asked him how his weekend was and he just glared at me. I've never seen her act that way before. What's biting her?
See also: biting

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 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 bullet

COMMON If you bite the bullet, you accept a difficult situation or force yourself to do something unpleasant. The same stressful event might make one person utterly miserable, while another will bite the bullet and make the best of it. If your internet connection isn't working, you'll probably have to bite the bullet and phone the technical support department. Note: During battles in the last century, wounded men were sometimes given a bullet to bite on while the doctor operated on them without any anaesthetic or painkillers.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

COMMON
1. If something bites the dust, it fails or stops existing. With the news that milk chocolate can help cut cholesterol, yet another healthy eating fad bites the dust. Quite a few restaurants have bitten the dust recently.
2. If someone bites the dust, they die. A Wild West showman nearly bit the dust when he blew himself up making blank bullets in his garden shed. Note: This expression is used to refer to someone's death in a humorous way. Note: In stories about the Wild West, cowboys were said to `bite the dust' when they were shot and fell off their horses.
See also: bite, dust

bite the big one

die. North American informal
1996 Tom Clancy Executive Orders The Premier of Turkmenistan bit the big one, supposedly an automobile accident.
See also: big, bite, one

bite the bullet

face up to doing something difficult or unpleasant; stoically avoid showing fear or distress.
This phrase dates from the days before anaesthetics, when wounded soldiers were given a bullet or similar solid object to clench between their teeth when undergoing surgery.
1998 Joyce Holms Bad Vibes Once he accepted it as inevitable he usually bit the bullet and did what was required of him with a good grace.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the dust

1 be killed. 2 fail. informal
See also: bite, dust

bite the ˈbig one

(American English, slang)
1 be very bad or fail: This place really bites the big one!
2 die: It’s a surprise to see him bite the big one at the end of the movie.
See also: big, bite, one

bite the ˈbullet

(informal) realize that you cannot avoid something unpleasant, and so accept it: Getting your car repaired is often an expensive business, but all you can do is bite the bullet and pay up.This expression comes from the old custom of giving soldiers a bullet to bite on during medical operations, which had to be done without any drugs to stop the pain.
See also: bite, bullet

bite the ˈdust

(informal)
1 fail, or be defeated or destroyed: Thousands of small businesses bite the dust every year.
2 (humorous) die
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 ?
A vivacious albeit bitingly critical collection of the most mockworthy moments in new millennium American politics.
A vivacious albeit bitingly critical collection of the most mock-worthy moments in new millennium American politics.
This was a gloriously fresh and unsentimental reading of an admittedly hackneyed work, never too grandiose but bitingly secure in passage-work and with amazingly clarity in the many fistfuls of notes.
All the junior golfers who participated in the event played extremely well in bitingly cold conditions.
The film, which opens on July 15 in limited release, weaves multiple stories to create a unique, bitingly honest and amusing look at love, family and the unpredictability of life with a gold mine of buried secrets, missed opportunities and second chances.
And so a block, though not a cornerstone, of the Ruskin myth crumbles: An eminent Victorian of the sort so bitingly lampooned by Lytton Strachey turns out to be somewhat less crazy than we had thought.
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.
Lullaby is fresh, original and thoughtful, and also funny, bitingly satiric and very, very dark.
A FRIEND WHO TEACHES COLLEGE ART history complains bitingly about her students' ignorance of the Bible.
Madelaine creates a vivid fantasy world--so vivid, in fact, that it's difficult to be certain whether the last third of the novel is indeed fantasy or reportage--whereby she is able to be at once strong, willful, bitingly funny, and nice.
American novelist and critic noted for bitingly satiric commentaries on marriage, the impotence of intellectuals, and the role of women in contemporary urban America.
But it's bitingly funny, bang up to date and flavoured with the winning combination of good music and plenty of stunningly-shot kitchen scenes which will leave you swearing you can smell every meal that's cooking.
The dolled-up race-goers exposed their arms and legs in cheeky outfits at the Liverpool racecourse but ended up looking more likely to suffer from exposure to the bitingly cold elements.
55pm) This new series of this popular amateur cook-off comes from Down Under, it's very like our own but unfortunately lacks the bitingly sarcastic commentary from the brilliant Dave Lamb.
The show is described as bitingly funny, poignant, sharply observed and very much of the moment and promises Steel fans the author and comedian at his brilliantly intelligent best.