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bite


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Bite one's thumb at insult by making the gesture of biting one's thumb; in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1595), in a scene between two quarrelling servants, one when challenged says to the other, ‘I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.’

bite the bullet behave stoically; the reference is to a wounded soldier undergoing surgery without the aid of anaesthetics.

bite the hand that feeds one injure a benefactor; the expression is recorded from the late 18th century, and is first recorded in Edmund Burke's Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770).

See also one's bark is worse than one's bite, dead men don't bite, second bite at the cherry.


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