champ at the bit

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champ at the bit

To be very eager or impatient to do something. The phrase alludes to an excited horse chewing on its "bit" (a metal mouthpiece). An older variant of the more common version, "chomp at the bit." The kids are champing at the bit to go to the park—can you take them? Now that my daughter is 16, she's champing at the bit to take the driver's test.
See also: bit, champ
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

champ at the bit

 and chomp at the bit 
1. Lit. [for a horse] to bite at its bit, eager to move along. Dobbin was champing at the bit, eager to go.
2. Fig. to be ready and anxious to do something. The kids were champing at the bit to get into the swimming pool. The dogs were champing at the bit to begin the hunt.
See also: bit, champ
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

champ at the bit

Show impatience at being held back or delayed, as in The dismissal bell hadn't rung, but they were champing at the bit to leave. This term transfers the action of a horse that impatiently bites the bit in its mouth to human behavior. [Mid-1600s]
See also: bit, champ
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.

champ (or chafe) at the bit

be restlessly impatient, especially to start doing something.
Champ at the bit is used literally of a spirited horse that tugs at the bit in its mouth in its eagerness to move.
See also: bit, champ
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

champ at the bit

To show impatience at being held back or delayed.
See also: bit, champ
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

champ at the bit, to

To express impatience at delay, to be eager to get going. To champ has meant to bite, chew, or grind upon since the sixteenth century, although its precise origin is uncertain. The analogy of the cliché is to a racehorse chewing on the bit at the start of a race, anxious to be off. The term was still being used literally in the nineteenth century (“The very horses champed at their bits,” Sketch Book, Washington Irving, 1820) but began to be used figuratively by 1900.
See also: champ
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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