bite 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

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