A Dictionary of the English Language
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Bite (verb)

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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 247

To Bite. v.a. pret. I bit; part. pass. I have bit, or bitten. [bıꞇan, Saxon.]

  1. To crush, or pierce with the teeth.

                My very enemy's dog,
    Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
    Against my fire.
    Shakesp. King Lear.

            Such smiling rogues as these,
    Like rats, oft bite the holy cords in twain,
    Too intricate t' unloose.
    Shakesp. King Lear.

    These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse, and fight for bitten apples. Shakesp. Henry VIII.

    He falls; his arms upon his body sound,
    And with his bloody teeth he bites the ground.
    Dryden.

    There was lately a young gentleman bit to the bone, who has now indeed recovered. Tatler, № 62.

    Their foul mouths have not opened their lips without a falsity; though they have showed their teeth as if they would bite off my nose. Arbuthnot and Pope's Martinus Scriblerus.

  2. To give pain by cold.

            Here feel we the icy phang,
    And churlish chiding of the winter's wind;
    Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
    Ev'n till I shrink with cold, I smile.
    Shakesp. As you like it.

    Full fifty years harness'd in rugged steel,
    I have endur'd the biting winter's blast,
    And the severer heats of parching summer.
    Rowe's Ambitious Stepmother.

  3. To hurt or pain with reproach.

    Each poet with a diff'rent talent writes;
    One praises, one instructs, another bites.
    Roscommon.

  4. To cut; to wound.

    I've seen the day, with my good biting faulchion,
    I would have made them skip.
    Shakesp. King Lear.

  5. To make the mouth smart with an acrid taste.

    It may be the first water will have more of the scent, as more fragrant; and the second more of the taste, as more bitter, or biting. Bacon's Natural History, № 21.

  6. To cheat; to trick; to defraud: a low phrase.

    Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
    An honest factor stole a gem away:
    He pledg'd it to the knight; the knight had wit,
    So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit.
    Pope.

    If you had allowed half the fine gentlemen to have conversed with you, they would have been strangely bit, while they thought only to fall in love with a fair lady. Pope's Letters.

Sources: Arbuthnot, John (227) · Shakespeare's As You Like It (40) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Dillon, Wentworth (Roscommon) (31) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Rowe, Nicholas (21) · Tatler (23)

Attributes: Saxon (215) · Verb Active (289)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Bite (verb)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: April 15, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=4868.


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