bite off more than one can chew

Idioms & Phrases

bite off more than one can chew

Take on more work or a bigger task than one can handle, as in With two additional jobs, Bill is clearly biting off more than he can chew. Cautions against taking on too much appear in medieval sources, although this particular metaphor, alluding to taking in more food than one can chew, dates only from about 1870.

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