bite (one's) tongue

(redirected from bite his tongue)

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 classic literature ?
He seemed to bite his tongue and I observed that Mills' eyes seemed to have grown wider than I had ever seen them before.
And while Rendell admits a player of his experience should know to bite his tongue in such circumstances, the 32-year-old was surprised the official was so upset to be called a 'mug'.
PEP GUARDIOLA was forced to bite his tongue - for fear of being hit with a fresh touchline ban.
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon has urged Kilmarnock gaffer Kenny Shiels to bite his tongue if he wants to help himself and his team.
FOR someone who has yet to be elected to Kirklees council Dr Paul Salveson, who is standing for the Golcar Ward, should bite his tongue until he is elected to office.
A year after proclaiming he was going to the European Championships with the sole aim of winning the gold medal only to leave Barcelona with a bronze, the 24-year-old has learned to bite his tongue as he aims to put a frustrating season to date behind him by reaching the final in South Korea.
PORTSMOUTH manager Tony Adams has pledged to bite his tongue even if he thinks a referee's blunder has hurt his team - an unexpected boost for the Football Association's Respect campaign.
ALEX Salmond has admitted he has to "bite his tongue" to stop himself offending people now he is First Minister.
The France international - a rival for Irwin's full-back berth says he is having to bite his tongue as he battles with the Republic of Ireland international for a first-team role.
The 59-year-old who's normally one to bite his tongue, was uncharacteristically vulgar-even when responding to questions that had nothing to do with the game's officiating.
So far the PM has had to bite his tongue on human rights abuses and watch a British journalist travelling with him barred from a press conference.
Kenny Dalglish did well to bite his tongue because if he had said what he thought he would have been in trouble.
ABERDEEN star Richard Foster has vowed to bite his tongue this term in a bid to avoid a bust-up with new boss Mark McGhee.
I think you were right to tell him you'd bite his tongue if he did it again.
And the ace corner-forward, who announced his retirement ahead of this year's league campaign after 12 seasons of sterling service, admitted that he has had to bite his tongue on several occasions while watching his former team-mates in action due to the flak they receive from their own supporters.