bite (one's) tongue

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bite (one's) tongue

1. Literally, to accidentally pinch one's tongue with one's teeth. My daughter started crying after she bit her tongue.
2. To stop oneself from saying something (often something potentially inappropriate, hurtful, or offensive). I had to bite my tongue as my sister gushed about her new boyfriend yet again.
See also: bite, tongue
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

bite one's tongue

 
1. Lit. to bite down on one's tongue by accident. Ouch! I bit my tongue!
2. Fig. to struggle not to say something that you really want to say. I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her what I really thought. I sat through that whole silly conversation biting my tongue.
See also: bite, tongue
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bite one's tongue

Refrain from speaking out, as in A new grandmother must learn to bite her tongue so as not to give unwanted advice, or I'm sure it'll rain during graduation.-Bite your tongue! This term alludes to holding the tongue between the teeth in an effort not to say something one might regret. Shakespeare used it in 2 Henry VI (1:1): "So York must sit and fret and bite his tongue." Today it is sometimes used as a humorous imperative, as in the second example, with the implication that speaking might bring bad luck. [Late 1500s] Also see hold one's tongue.
See also: bite, tongue
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bite your tongue

COMMON If you bite your tongue, you do not say something that you would like to say. All I can do is to bite my tongue if I want to keep my job.
See also: bite, tongue
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

bite your tongue

make a desperate effort to avoid saying something.
See also: bite, tongue
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

bite your ˈtongue

stop yourself from saying something that might upset somebody or cause an argument, although you want to speak: I didn’t believe her explanation but I bit my tongue. OPPOSITE: give somebody a piece of your mind
See also: bite, tongue
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

bite your tongue

Hope that what you just said doesn’t come true. This imperative is a translation of the Yiddish saying, Bays dir di tsung, and is used in informal conversation. For example, “You think it’ll rain on their outdoor ceremony? Bite your tongue!” A much older but related phrase is to bite one’s tongue, meaning to remain silent when provoked—literally, to hold it between one’s teeth so as to suppress speaking. Shakespeare had it in Henry VI, Part 2 (1.1): “So Yorke must sit, and fret, and bite his tongue.” See also hold one's tongue.
See also: bite, tongue
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"It's fair to say people know I'm not from Edinburgh - some of that is a bit tongue in cheek I'm sure - but they are also keen that the history of the club is taken forward.
That even includes Andy Howell, who has set up a Facebook page, even if it is a bit tongue in cheek.
Yes, of course his column is very readable and sometimes amusing, and, yes, I realise that some of the opinions that he espouses maybe are a bit tongue in cheek, but I think it's a shame that his rantings against socalled benefit cheats (ECHO, August 12), his illiberal and clichd "thoughts" and generally bashing all the usual tabloid unfortunate suspects is quite beneath him.
Stockton spokesman Terry Wilson said: "I suppose you could say that the decision to include 'Bernie' in the list was made either on a wing and a prayer or perhaps a bit tongue in cheek, as we hadn't actually seen him since he sustained a shoulder injury via a vigorous rucking practice."
Torquil, 37, who returned with his team from Kathmandu last Monday, said: "Even if you take it as a bit tongue in cheek, for a Scot to be world champion in any sport is a wonderful accomplishment."
Total Film editor Matt Mueller said: 'It is possible that people have been a little bit tongue in cheek here, but they are also saying that Bush was very scary in Fahrenheit 9/11.
"It must have been a bit tongue in cheek - I sincerely hope so," laughed Bruce.
If you've found yourself a bit tongue tied or inhibited about an important subject, you can feel less hemmed in and constrained.
Perhaps Crouch was being a bit tongue in cheek but if he really did think an old Anfield team mate would give him special treatment and lay-off he's got it all wrong..
So if you are on the lookout for love but just a tad shy or perhaps a bit tongue tied, when it comes to chatting up the opposite sex, try an evening with the Dating Doctor.
Even though it was a bit tongue in cheek - I never expected them to be this bad - Spurs did not take too kindly to my words.
I THINK Alex Ferguson's statement that he "couldn't give two monkeys" whether or not he stays on at Manchester United was a bit tongue in cheek.
That's a bit tongue in cheek by the way, but it's true.