bite


bite
bite, gnaw, champ, gnash are comparable when they mean to attack with or as if with the teeth.
Bite fundamentally implies a getting of the teeth, especially the front teeth, into something so as to grip, pierce, or tear off
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bite an apple deeply

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bite into a cookie

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bite off a piece of molasses candy

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Sometimes bite denotes to wound by biting
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the dog has bitten a boy

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unable to fight with hands or feet, he savagely bit his antagonist

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In extended use bite implies unusual power of penetration or power of cutting into something so that it stings or pricks, or gives support to a good grip or hold
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scissors that snip sheet steel and bite off heavy bars— Shaw

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{

bite an etching plate with acid

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saws ... as they . . . bite the wood— Frost

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heel nails bit on the frozen ruts— Hemingway

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a summer bitten into Joan's memory— H. G. Wells

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Gnaw, on the other hand, implies an effort to bite something hard or tough; it implies repeated action and a slow wearing away, sometimes stressing one in preference to the other
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the dog gnaws a bone

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rats have gnawed the rope into shreds

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gnaw at a crust of bread

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life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse— Millay

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Therefore gnaw is used of what eats, frets, or corrodes something that is strong, resistant, or not easily affected
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old pains keep on gnawing at your heart— Conrad

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they were both . . . gnawed with anxiety— D. H. Lawrence

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Champ implies vigorous and noisy action of the teeth and jaws as they attempt to penetrate something hard or, sometimes, inedible. The word usually is associated with animals (as horses) and connotes impatience or extreme hunger, but it is also used of men who avidly apply themselves to the task of biting with their teeth and crushing with their jaws: often it suggests the flow and foaming of saliva
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the horse champed at its bit until its mouth was covered with foam

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he ate in a ruthless manner, champing his food— Waugh

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others, devoted themselves to the sodden and lee-dyed pieces of the cask, licking, and even champing the moister wine-rotted fragments with eager relish— Dickens

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Gnash usually implies the striking of the teeth against each other or a grinding of them (as in anguish, despair, or extreme rage); it often emphasizes this action as the visible sign of an overpowering emotion or distress
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but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth—Mr 8:12

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Sometimes, however, it implies a savage biting that rends a thing in two or tears it apart
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I strove ... to rend and gnash my bonds in twain— Byron

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the tiger gnashed the fox, the ermine and the sloth— Landor

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Analogous words: *eat, consume, devour

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • bite — ou bitte [ bit ] n. f. • 1584; du norm. bitter « boucher », de l a. scand. bita « mordre » ♦ Vulg. Pénis. ⊗ HOM. Beat, bit, bitte. ● bitte ou bite nom féminin (ancien français abiter, copuler, de bitter à, toucher à, de l ancien scandinave bita,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Bite — (b[imac]t), v. t. [imp. {Bit} (b[i^]t); p. p. {Bitten} (b[i^]t t n), {Bit}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Biting}.] [OE. biten, AS. b[=i]tan; akin to D. bijten, OS. b[=i]tan, OHG. b[=i]zan, G. beissen, Goth. beitan, Icel. b[=i]ta, Sw. bita, Dan. bide, L.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bite — Bite, n. [OE. bite, bit, bitt, AS. bite bite, fr. b[=i]tan to bite, akin to Icel. bit, OS. biti, G. biss. See {Bite}, v., and cf. {Bit}.] 1. The act of seizing with the teeth or mouth; the act of wounding or separating with the teeth or mouth; a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bite — ► VERB (past bit; past part. bitten) 1) use the teeth to cut into something. 2) (of a snake, insect, or spider) wound with a sting, pincers, or fangs. 3) (of a fish) take the bait or lure on the end of a fishing line into the mouth. 4) (of a tool …   English terms dictionary

  • bite — [baɪt] noun [countable] COMPUTING another spelling of byte * * * Ⅰ. bite UK US /baɪt/ verb [I] ● start/begin to bite Cf. start/begin to bite …   Financial and business terms

  • Bite Me — is typically used as an idiomatic expression of discontent or aggravation toward another party. It may also refer to: * Bite Me , a song by Detroit based rock band Electric Six on their second album Senor Smoke * Bite Me (song), a song from the… …   Wikipedia

  • BiTE — (acronym for bi specific T cell engagers ), a class of specific modified antibodies that direct a host s T cells cytotoxic activity against diseased cells (e.g cancer cells).Several products that have come under close scrutiny in a few… …   Wikipedia

  • bite — [bīt] vt. bit [bit] bitten [bit′ n] or biting [ME biten < OE bītan < IE base * bheid , to split, crack > BEETLE1, BITTER, L findere, to split (see FISSION)] …   English World dictionary

  • bite — [n1] injury from gripping, tearing chaw*, chomp*, gob*, itch*, laceration, nip, pain, pinch, prick, smarting, sting, tooth marks*, wound; concept 309 bite [n2] mouthful of food brunch, drop, light meal, morsel, nibble, nosh*, piece, refreshment,… …   New thesaurus

  • bite at — ˈbite at [transitive] [present tense I/you/we/they bite at he/she/it bites at past tense bit at past participle bitten at] …   Useful english dictionary


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