Bite

A cheat; one who bites us. “The biter bit” explains the origin. We say “a man was bitten” when he “burns his fingers” meddling with something which promised well but turned out a failure.

To bite the dust,
as “Their enemies shall bite the dust,” i.e. be slain in battle.

Bite

To bite one's thumb at another. To insult; to provoke to a quarrel.

Gregory. I will frown as I pass by: and let them take it as they list.”

Sampson. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.” —Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, i. 1.

To bite the lip,
indicative of suppressed chagrin, passion, or annoyance.

“She had to bite her lips till the blood came in order to keep down the angry words that would rise in her heart.” —Mrs. Gaskell: Mary Barton, chap. xi.

To bite upon the bridle.
To champ the bit, like an impatient or restless horse.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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