champ at the bit

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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