bite back

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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 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
References in periodicals archive ?
The company has signed a deal to supply a US distributor with 37,000 bars of chocolate after exhibiting the Biting Back range at the Fancy Fine Food Fair in New York in June with financial support from UK Trade and Investment and help from the British Embassy in New York.
Not only does he withstand undermining and cruelty without biting back, he also exhibits a loyalty and dignity rare for his breed.
But what once was a partnership in the Hollywood publicity mill seems to have devolved into skirmishes, with the photographers on the attack with incriminating stills and the famous ones biting back with powerful attorneys.
BEDBUGS are biting back in Britain because of car boot sales.
But they found out Labour were more than capable of biting back.