Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! Welcome back to Know Your Verbs! My name is Alisha, and in this episode, we're going to talk about the verb, bite. Let's get started!
Let's talk about the basic definition of the verb, bite. It means to use your teeth to cut or tear or something.
"I hate it when I bite my tongue."
"You shouldn't bite your nails."
Let's look at the conjugations for this verb.
Present: bite, bites
Past: bit
Past participle: bit
Progressive: biting
Let's talk about some additional meanings for this verb. The first one is one that we use when we go fishing which means for fish to eat bait. We use the verb bite for this.
"The fish aren't biting today."
"I think something bit my lure!"
So bite refers to fish eating bait. So bait meaning edible things or lure, as in the second example sentence, kind of a shiny metal or plastic object that attracts fish. It looks like food but there are hooks in it. So, we use bite to talk about the fish trying to eat that thing or actually swallowing that thing. So the reason I introduced that, we'll talk about with the second additional meaning for this verb.
So, this leads into the second additional meaning for this verb. The second additional meaning for this verb is to show interest in something, to show interest in something.
"All right, I'll bite. What's the secret?"
"The new clients didn't bite on the deal."
So here, bite means show interest. So the reason that I introduced this as the second meaning after the fish-bait-eating introduction is because we can imagine that when we're showing our interest in something, it's similar to the way fish bite a lure, fish try to bite food. So, when we're interested in some information like a secret, as in the first example or a special deal, as in the second example, we want to bite it, we want to get that thing. So, this means to show interest, yes, but it means we're kind of going after. We're trying to chase that thing, so we can get it and enjoy it, perhaps. So, to bite can mean to show interest in something.
The third additional meaning for this verb is to be bad or to be unappealing.
"This lunch bites."
"Your boss bites."
So here, we're using bites. In the first example, "your lunch bites," it doesn't mean your lunch like a sandwich physically bites you. It means your lunch is not very good, your lunch is bad, your lunch is unappealing.
In the second example, your boss bites, it doesn't mean your boss is a person who bites people. It means your boss is bad, your boss is not a good person, your boss is not a good boss, for example. This is a slang term that means not good, unappealing.
However, the fourth additional meaning for this verb is to have a habit of biting. So, someone or something that has a habit of biting things, we can use the verb bite to talk about that.
"Watch out for that dog; he bites."
"Careful; I heard that kid bites."
Generally, this use of the verb, bite, is used for animals and for kids, so in other words, creatures or small people who have not yet learned or don't know that it's wrong to bite someone. So, this is not used for adults. So, you probably won't confuse this meaning with meaning number three of like, "your boss bites," because your boss, as an adult, has learned not to bite people. So, this is probably only going to be used with animals and maybe kids, so people or creatures who don't know.
Let's move along to some variations of this verb. The first one is to come back to bite (somebody), to come back to bite (somebody). This refers to a problem that, if not handled now, could cause a bigger problem in the future.
"I didn't put gas in the car yesterday. I hope that doesn't come back to bite me."
"She didn't stay updated on the project progress and it came back to bite her."
So, these examples refer to a problem that's not properly handled at the right time. In the first example sentence, a person did not put gas in his or her car yesterday, so the idea is that perhaps, they're going to run out of gas in the future. They should have put gas in the car yesterday, but they did not. They should have and it might cause a bigger problem in the future.
In the second example sentence, it's a past tense situation. A person, the she in the situation, did not stay updated on the project progress and thus, there was a negative effect in the future because she did not properly handle the situation. So for something to come back and bite you, means you didn't take care at the present time and in the future, it caused a bigger problem so be careful of this one.
Let's go on to the second variation which is to bite (someone's) head off. This is quite a strange expression, but to bite (someone's) head off means, usually, to quickly and angrily say something and it can often be for something very, very small. Not necessarily for a huge problem, but maybe just a quick show of anger sometimes over a small point.
"My mom bit my head off for coming home 10 minutes late last night."
"He made one small mistake; you don't have to bite his head off."
So, of course, this doesn't literally mean biting someone's head off of their body, but it just means making a really quick and angry comment or series of comments to somebody because of something small, usually.
In the first example sentence, it's a 10-minute delay, so one person is 10 minutes late getting home and the speaker's mother bit his or her head off, meaning, was very angry at them for a short period of time for that mistake.
In the second example sentence, "He made one small mistake; you don't have to bite his head off." That means that you don't need to be so angry at this person for a small mistake. So, to bite someone's head off is a quick show of anger, refers to that.
The third variation is to bite the bullet. To bite the bullet refers to doing something that you don't want to do, but maybe you're forced to do it, or it's really not appealing, you don't want to do it, but you decide you have to or there's some other reason that you're pushed to do it, you bite the bullet and do it.
So examples…
"I think I have to bite the bullet and take the boring day job."
"We bit the bullet and applied for a mortgage."
So, these are, maybe, examples of things the speakers don't want to do, but they decide they need to do for some reason or they're forced to do for some reason.
So, those are a few new ways I hope that you can use the verb bite. There are quite a few interesting meanings to this verb, for sure. Of course, if you know a different meaning, if you want to try to make an example sentence, or if you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this episode of Know Your Verbs and we'll see you again next time. Bye-bye!