Jul 5, 2019

Bite Ones Tongue – Idiom Meaning and Examples

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to stop from saying something one desperately wants to say

to stop oneself from saying something

to refrain oneself from saying something mostly hurtful or offensive

to stop oneself from saying something inappropriate or rude


Mike had to bite his tongue when his student said he was studying hard.

When you have a desperate need to say something offensive, you must bite your tongue.

Julie’s new bag looked very funny, but I bit my tongue not to say anything.


The first reference of this phrase could be found in 1591 by William Shakespeare. The literal meaning of this idiom is to punish your tongue from saying something wrong.

Synonymous Idioms:

brush under the carpet

Mike brushed it under the carpet when his student said he was got bad grades.

button one’s lip (informal)

Father is coming towards us. Please button your lips and don’t tell anything about my marks.

hold one’s peace

I understood he was angry, so I decided to hold my peace and not utter a word.

hold one’s tongue

We were talking in the library so the librarian asked us to hold our tongue.

pipe down (informal)

As soon as the teacher entered the classroom, she asked the children to pipe down.

Opposite Idioms

shoot the breeze

I met my childhood friend after a long time. We shot the breeze the whole evening. It felt good chatting with him after so long.

bare one’s heart out

Doesn’t it feel great to bare your heart out to someone at times?

breathe a word

We need to keep this party a secret you should not breathe a word of this to anyone.

let the cat out of the bag

I am sure you let the cat out of the bag. How else will mom come to know I am coming home?

spill the beans

Simi accidentally spilled the beans about the surprise party.

Article Categories:
Idioms and Phrases

Comments to Bite Ones Tongue – Idiom Meaning and Examples

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