bite off more than one can chew

Slang Dictionary

bite definition


  1. in.
    to accept a deception; to fall for something; to respond to a come-on. : We put up a sign advertising free pop, but nobody bit.
  2. in.
    [for someone or something] to be bad or threatening. : My dad bites, but don't worry, he's in a good mood.
  3. in.
    to be irritating. (More severe than to suck,as in It sucks.) : This party bites. Sko.
  4. tv.
    to copy something without permission; to steal something. : Sue bit a copy of my term paper, and I almost got in trouble.
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
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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