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The Origin of "Bite Your Tongue" and "Bite Me"

Although ‘bite your tongue’ and ‘bite me’ sound similar, they have different meanings and very different origins. In fact, the former has a clean meaning, while the latter is definitely not clean.

When someone tells someone else to ‘bite your tongue’, they are telling them to shut their mouth and to say nothing. A person can use a variation to apply to themselves, too. They could say something like, “I had to bite my tongue’. This would imply that they wanted to say something they knew would cause problems, so they prudently kept quiet instead.

The phrase, ‘bite your tongue’ has been around since at least the 1590s and Shakespeare even referred to a person who bit his tongue in one of his plays. 

“Bite me” has a totally different meaning and origin and the meaning is highly offensive, though many people who use the term now have no idea of its original meaning or where it came from. The phrase came from the late 1940s or early 1950s. It was originally used by teenaged boys who strongly disagreed with other teenaged boys and the phrase had the same meaning as…putting it as cleanly as possible…”perform fellatio on me” or “blow me”.

The two phrases might sound similar, but they definitely have different meanings and origins. “Bite your tongue” has a clean and actually a wise meaning. “Bite me” definitely does not. 

Have you used either of these phrases?


What do you think?


Written by Rex Trulove

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