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1 definition found
for To bite the tongue
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Bite \Bite\ (b[imac]t), v. t. [imp. Bit (b[i^]t); p. p.
Bitten (b[i^]t"t'n), Bit; p. pr. & vb. n. Biting.] [OE.
biten, AS. b[imac]tan; akin to D. bijten, OS. b[imac]tan,
OHG. b[imac]zan, G. beissen, Goth. beitan, Icel. b[imac]ta,
Sw. bita, Dan. bide, L. findere to cleave, Skr. bhid to
cleave. [root]87. Cf. Fissure.]
1. To seize with the teeth, so that they enter or nip the
thing seized; to lacerate, crush, or wound with the teeth;
as, to bite an apple; to bite a crust; the dog bit a man.
Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain. --Shak.
2. To puncture, abrade, or sting with an organ (of some
insects) used in taking food.
3. To cause sharp pain, or smarting, to; to hurt or injure,
in a literal or a figurative sense; as, pepper bites the
mouth. "Frosts do bite the meads." --Shak.
4. To cheat; to trick; to take in. [Colloq.] --Pope.
5. To take hold of; to hold fast; to adhere to; as, the
anchor bites the ground.
The last screw of the rack having been turned so
often that its purchase crumbled, . . . it turned
and turned with nothing to bite. --Dickens.
To bite the dust, To bite the ground, to fall in the
agonies of death; as, he made his enemy bite the dust.
To bite in (Etching), to corrode or eat into metallic
plates by means of an acid.
To bite the thumb at (any one), formerly a mark of
contempt, designed to provoke a quarrel; to defy. "Do you
bite your thumb at us?" --Shak.
To bite the tongue, to keep silence. --Shak.
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