champ at the bit


1 [champ, chomp]
verb (used with object)
to bite upon or grind, especially impatiently: The horses champed the oats.
to crush with the teeth and chew vigorously or noisily; munch.
to mash; crush.
verb (used without object)
to make vigorous chewing or biting movements with the jaws and teeth.
the act of champing.
champ at the bit, to betray impatience, as to begin some action.
Also, chomp.

1520–30; perhaps akin to chap1; see chop1

champer, noun
champy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
champ1 (tʃæmp)
vb (when intr, often foll by on, at, etc)
1.  to munch (food) noisily like a horse
2.  to bite (something) nervously or impatiently; gnaw
3.  informal champ at the bit, chafe at the bit to be impatient to start work, a journey, etc
4.  the act or noise of champing
5.  dialect (Ulster) a dish, originating in Ireland, of mashed potatoes and spring onions or leeks
[C16: probably of imitative origin]

champ2 (tʃæmp)
informal short for champion

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1868, Amer.Eng. abbreviation of champion (q.v.).

1530, probably echoic. Earlier also cham.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

champ definition

  1. n.
    a champion. (Also a term of address.) : Mark is a real champ—always there to help.
  2. n.
    a dependable member of the underworld. (Underworld. See also thoroughbred.) : Lefty is a champ. He stood by me the whole time.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Comprehensive Healthcare Analysis and Management Program
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

champ at the bit

Show impatience at being held back or delayed, as in The dismissal bell hadn't rung, but they were champing at the bit to leave. This term transfers the action of a horse that impatiently bites the bit in its mouth to human behavior. [Mid-1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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