from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cut, grip, or tear with or as if with the teeth.
  • transitive v. To pierce the skin of with the teeth, fangs, or mouthparts.
  • transitive v. To sting with a stinger.
  • transitive v. To cut into with or as if with a sharp instrument: The ax bit the log deeply.
  • transitive v. To grip, grab, or seize: bald treads that couldn't bite the icy road; bitten by a sudden desire to travel.
  • transitive v. To eat into; corrode.
  • transitive v. To cause to sting or be painful: cold that bites the skin; a conscience bitten by remorse.
  • intransitive v. To grip, cut into, or injure something with or as if with the teeth.
  • intransitive v. To have a stinging effect.
  • intransitive v. To have a sharp taste.
  • intransitive v. To take or swallow bait.
  • intransitive v. To be taken in by a ploy or deception: tried to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, but no one bit.
  • intransitive v. Vulgar Slang To be highly disagreeable or annoying.
  • n. The act of biting.
  • n. A skin wound or puncture produced by an animal's teeth or mouthparts: the bite of an insect.
  • n. A stinging or smarting sensation.
  • n. An incisive, penetrating quality: the bite of satire.
  • n. An amount removed by or as if by an act of biting: Rezoning took a bite out of the town's residential area.
  • n. An excerpt or fragment taken from something larger, such as a film.
  • n. An amount of food taken into the mouth at one time; a mouthful.
  • n. Informal A light meal or snack.
  • n. The act or an instance of taking bait: fished all day without a bite; an ad that got a few bites but no final sales.
  • n. A secure grip or hold applied by a tool or machine upon a working surface.
  • n. The part of a tool or machine that presses against and maintains a firm hold on a working surface.
  • n. Dentistry The angle at which the upper and lower teeth meet; occlusion.
  • n. The corrosive action of acid upon an etcher's metal plate.
  • n. Slang An amount of money appropriated or withheld: trying to avoid the tax bite.
  • idiom bite off more than (one) can chew To decide or agree to do more than one can finally accomplish.
  • idiom bite (someone's) head off To respond to a comment in an angry or reproachful way.
  • idiom bite the bullet Slang To face a painful situation bravely and stoically.
  • idiom bite the dust Slang To fall dead, especially in combat.
  • idiom bite the dust Slang To be defeated.
  • idiom bite the dust Slang To come to an end.
  • idiom bite the hand that feeds (one) To repay generosity or kindness with ingratitude and injury.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cut off a piece by clamping the teeth.
  • v. To hold something by clamping one’s teeth.
  • v. To attack with the teeth.
  • v. To behave aggressively; to reject advances.
  • v. To take hold; to establish firm contact with.
  • v. To have significant effect, often negative.
  • v. To bite a baited hook or other lure and thus be caught.
  • v. To accept something offered, often secretly or deceptively, to cause some action by the acceptor.
  • v. To sting.
  • v. To lack quality; to be worthy of derision; to suck.
  • v. To perform oral sex on. Used in invective.
  • v. To plagiarize, to imitate.
  • n. The act of biting.
  • n. The wound left behind after having been bitten.
  • n. The swelling of one's skin caused by an insect's mouthparts or sting.
  • n. A piece of food of a size that would be produced by biting; a mouthful.
  • n. Something unpleasant.
  • n. An act of plagiarism.
  • n. A small meal or snack.
  • n. aggression
  • n. The hold which the short end of a lever has upon the thing to be lifted, or the hold which one part of a machine has upon another.
  • n. A cheat; a trick; a fraud.
  • n. A sharper; one who cheats.
  • n. A blank on the edge or corner of a page, owing to a portion of the frisket, or something else, intervening between the type and paper.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of seizing with the teeth or mouth; the act of wounding or separating with the teeth or mouth; a seizure with the teeth or mouth, as of a bait.
  • n. The act of puncturing or abrading with an organ for taking food, as is done by some insects.
  • n. The wound made by biting.
  • n. A morsel; as much as is taken at once by biting.
  • n. The hold which the short end of a lever has upon the thing to be lifted, or the hold which one part of a machine has upon another.
  • n. A cheat; a trick; a fraud.
  • n. A sharper; one who cheats.
  • n. A blank on the edge or corner of a page, owing to a portion of the frisket, or something else, intervening between the type and paper.
  • intransitive v. To seize something forcibly with the teeth; to wound with the teeth; to have the habit of so doing; as, does the dog bite?
  • intransitive v. To cause a smarting sensation; to have a property which causes such a sensation; to be pungent.
  • intransitive v. To cause sharp pain; to produce anguish; to hurt or injure; to have the property of so doing.
  • intransitive v. To take a bait into the mouth, as a fish does; hence, to take a tempting offer.
  • intransitive v. To take or keep a firm hold.
  • transitive v. To seize with the teeth, so that they enter or nip the thing seized; to lacerate, crush, or wound with the teeth.
  • transitive v. To puncture, abrade, or sting with an organ (of some insects) used in taking food.
  • transitive v. To cause sharp pain, or smarting, to; to hurt or injure, in a literal or a figurative sense.
  • transitive v. To cheat; to trick; to take in.
  • transitive v. To take hold of; to hold fast; to adhere to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut, pierce, or divide with the teeth: as, to bite an apple.
  • To remove with the teeth; cut away by biting: with off, out, etc.: as, to bite off a piece of an apple, or bite a piece out of it; to bite off one's nose to spite one's face.
  • To grasp or grip with the teeth; press the teeth strongly upon: as, to bite the thumb or lip. (See phrases below.)
  • To sting, as an insect: as, to be bitten by a flea.
  • To cause a sharp or smarting pain in; cause to smart: as, pepper bites the mouth.
  • To nip, as with frost; blast, blight, or injure.
  • To take fast hold of; grip or catch into or on, so as to act with effect; get purchase from, as by friction: as, the anchor bites the ground; the file bites the iron; the wheels bite the rails.
  • In etching, to corrode or eat into with aquafortis or other mordant, as a metal surface that has been laid bare with an etching-needle: often with in: as, the plate is now bitten in.
  • To cheat; trick; deceive; overreach: now only in the past participle: as, the biter was bit.
  • Synonyms See eat.
  • To have a habit of biting or snapping at persons or things: as, a dog that bites; a biting horse.
  • To pierce, sting, or inflict injury by biting, literally or figuratively.
  • To take a bait, as a fish: either literally or figuratively.
  • To take and keep hold; grip or catch into another object, so as to act on it with effect, obtain purchase or leverage-power from it, and the like: as, the anchor bites; cog-wheels bite when the teeth of one enter into the notches of the other and cause it to revolve.
  • To repress one's thoughts, or restrain one's feelings.
  • n. The act of cutting, piercing, or wounding with the teeth or as with the teeth: as, the bite of a dog; the bite of a crab.
  • n. The seizing of bait by a fish: as, waiting for a bite.
  • n. A wound made by the teeth of an animal or by any of the biting, piercing, or stinging organs of the lower animals: as, a dog's bite; a mosquito-bite; a flea-bite.
  • n. As much as is taken at once by biting; a mouthful: as, a bite of bread.
  • n. Food; victuals: as, three days without either bite or sup.
  • n. The catch or hold that one object or one part of a mechanical apparatus has on another; specifically, in a file, the roughness or power of abrasion: as, the bite of an anchor on the ground; the bite of the wheels of a locomotive on the rails.
  • n. In etching, the corrosion effected by the acid.
  • n. In printing, an imperfection in a printed sheet caused by part of the impression being received on the frisket or paper mask.
  • n. 9. A cheat; a trick; a fraud.
  • n. A sharper; one who cheats.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. deliver a sting to
  • n. wit having a sharp and caustic quality
  • v. to grip, cut off, or tear with or as if with the teeth or jaws
  • n. a portion removed from the whole
  • v. cause a sharp or stinging pain or discomfort
  • n. the act of gripping or chewing off with the teeth and jaws
  • v. penetrate or cut, as with a knife
  • n. (angling) an instance of a fish taking the bait
  • n. a painful wound caused by the thrust of an insect's stinger into skin
  • n. a wound resulting from biting by an animal or a person
  • n. a small amount of solid food; a mouthful
  • n. a strong odor or taste property
  • n. a light informal meal


Middle English biten, from Old English bītan; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English bītan, from Proto-Germanic *bītanan, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeyd- (“to split”). Cognates include Old Norse bíta (Danish bide), Gothic 𐌱𐌴𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (beitan), German beißen, Ancient Greek φείδομαι (feídomai), Sanskrit भिद् (bhid, "to break"), Latin findo ("split"). (Wiktionary)


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  • In hip-hop parlance
    transitive verb
    to plagiarize, typically in reference to a hip-hop artist stealing another hip-hop artist's lyrics.

    February 24, 2008