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7 Essential Words of Fall

bitch

[bich] /bɪtʃ/
noun
1.
a female dog:
The bitch won first place in the sporting dogs category.
2.
a female of canines generally.
3.
Slang.
  1. a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, especially a woman.
  2. a lewd woman.
  3. Disparaging and Offensive. any woman.
4.
Slang. a person who is submissive or subservient to someone, usually in a humiliating way:
Tom is so her bitch—he never questions what she decides.
5.
Slang.
  1. a man who willingly or unwillingly submits to the will and control of a dominant partner in a sexual relationship, especially with another man, as in prison bitch:
    Watch out, or your cellmate will make you his prison bitch.
  2. a gay man who assumes the passive or female role in a sexual relationship.
6.
Slang.
  1. a complaint.
    See also bitch session.
  2. anything difficult or unpleasant:
    That test was a real bitch.
  3. anything memorable, especially something exceptionally good:
    You threw one bitch of a party last night.
verb (used without object)
7.
Slang. to complain; gripe:
They bitched about the service, then about the bill.
verb (used with object)
8.
Slang. to spoil; bungle (sometimes followed by up):
He bitched the job completely. You really bitched up this math problem.
Idioms
9.
sit / ride bitch, to sit uncomfortably between two others in the middle of the front or back seat of a car, particularly one with a raised section in the middle resulting in being forced to bring one's knees up in a bent position:
When I was young, I was the smallest, so I was always stuck sitting bitch. Please don't make me ride bitch again!
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English bicche, Old English bicce; cognate with Old Norse bikkja
Related forms
superbitch, noun
Word story
How shocked and offended will people be if you use this word? Well, that all depends on how you are using it and what you are referring to. Originally, bitch simply meant a female dog, and it still does. But around the year 1400, it gained currency as a disparaging term for a woman, originally specifically “a lewd or sensual woman,” and then more generally “a malicious or unpleasant woman.” The word is first found used this way in the Chester Plays of the 1400's, which has the line “Who callest thou queine, skabde bitch?,” translated by one writer into modern English as “Who are you calling a whore, you miserable bitch?” By the 1800's, bitch was considered “the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman,” to the point where people started using euphemisms for the literal sense, such as lady dog and she dog.
But language keeps evolving, and bitch can now also be applied to a man, to a complaint, and to any difficult or unpleasant thing or situation. Used as a verb, we can talk about complaining (“bitching and moaning”), or bungling things (“bitching something up”), or riding in an uncomfortable position in a car (“sitting bitch”). When used in any of these ways, it's more slang than vulgarity, more colorful interjection than cause for offense. In fact, bitch has been reclaimed by some women as a self-referential term of empowerment. Nevertheless, care must be taken—there is a big difference between bitching about a woman and calling her a bitch! (Though it's O.K. to call her female dog that.)
Related Quotations
“The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse as they would have drowned a bitch's blind puppies.“
—Falstaff, Merry Wives of Windsor, act III, scene V William Shakespeare (1602)
“We're all nervous as a wolf bitch in heat.“
—Paul Engle, “The Last Whiskey Cup“ The Great American Parade ed. H. J. Duteil (1935)
“Bitch: … the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore, as may be gathered from the regular Billingsgate or St. Giles's answers, ‘I may be a whore, but can't be a bitch.’“
—Francis Grose, Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785)
“The bitch that I mean is not a dog.“
—English proverbial saying, Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British Thomas Fuller (1732)
“Kind of a Bitch: Why I Like Hillary Clinton“
—Camille Paglia, Vamps & Tramps: New Essays (1995)
“He's my bitch, and when he says my name, we just sell that many more records.“
—David Lee Roth, talking about Sammy Hagar, Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga Ian Christe (2007)
“I liked the idea of having me a kept senator. You might say he's my bitch.“
—Stanford Diehl, Angel in the Front Room, Devil Out Back (2001)
“What a bitch of a thing prose is! It is never finished, there is always something to be done over.“
—Gustave Flaubert, in a letter to Louise Colet, The Selected Letters of Gustave Flaubert ed. and transl. Francis Steegmuller (1953)
“Sometimes you just have to stop and bitch about the roses.“
—Man to woman, in a cartoon by Christopher Weyant, The New Yorker (December 20, 2004)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for bitches

bitch

/bɪtʃ/
noun
1.
a female dog or other female canine animal, such as a wolf
2.
(offensive, slang) a malicious, spiteful, or coarse woman
3.
(slang) a complaint
4.
(slang) a difficult situation or problem
5.
(slang) a person who acts as a subordinate or slave to another person
verb (informal)
6.
(intransitive) to complain; grumble
7.
to behave (towards) in a spiteful or malicious manner
8.
(transitive) often foll by up. to botch; bungle
Word Origin
Old English bicce
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bitches

bitch

n.

Old English bicce "female dog," probably from Old Norse bikkjuna "female of the dog" (also fox, wolf, and occasionally other beasts), of unknown origin. Grimm derives the Old Norse word from Lapp pittja, but OED notes that "the converse is equally possible." As a term of contempt applied to women, it dates from c.1400; of a man, c.1500, playfully, in the sense of "dog." Used among male homosexuals from 1930s. In modern (1990s, originally black English) slang, its use with reference to a man is sexually contemptuous, from the "woman" insult.

BITCH. A she dog, or doggess; the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore. ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1811]
Bitch goddess coined 1906 by William James; the original one was success.

v.

"to complain," attested at least from 1930, perhaps from the sense in bitchy, perhaps influenced by the verb meaning "to bungle, spoil," which is recorded from 1823. But bitched in this sense seems to echo Middle English bicched "cursed, bad," a general term of opprobrium (e.g. Chaucer's bicched bones "unlucky dice"), which despite the hesitation of OED, seems to be a derivative of bitch (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bitches

bitch

noun
  1. A woman one dislikes or disapproves of, esp a malicious, devious, or heartless woman •The equivalent of the masculine bastard as a general term of opprobrium: a cold-hearted bitch (1400+)
  2. A girl: Some boys commonly use the word ''bitch'' as a synonym for ''girl'' (1990s+ Black teenagers)
  3. A waspish or insolent male homosexual (1930s+ Homosexuals)
  4. The queen of any suit in playing cards (1900+)
  5. : What's your bitch today? (1910+)
  6. Anything arduous or very disagreeable: That wind's a bitch (1814+)
  7. (also biatch, beotch) A person who performs tasks for another and is usually treated in a degrading manner: I'd like you to be my bitch today
  8. Buddy; cohort
verb
  1. (also bitch and moan) To complain; gripe; beef, bellyache: College students always bitch about the food (1930+)
  2. To cheat; chisel: You never tried to bitch me out of anything (1920s+)
  3. (also bitch up) To ruin; mess up (1820s+)
Related Terms

it's a bitch, son of a bitch


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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14
15
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