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Where does the expression "bite the bullet" come from?

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asked Sep 22, 2015 in Writing and Speaking by anonymous
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The expression "Bite the Bullet" first appeared in 1891's 'The Light that Failed',  a book by Rudyard Kipling. It is believed its roots come from a time when people would literally bite a bullet during medical surgeries and procedures. Back then, there was no such thing as anesthetic, so the pain was so extreme patients needed to take it out on something. [1]

 

 

The meaning of the expression is similar nowadays, though not quite the same. It means to accept the hardship or pain in a situation one is about to endure. It is a common expression used in both everyday life and in the movies. [2]

 

Sources:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bite_the_bullet

2. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/bite-the-bullet.html

answered Sep 23, 2015 by erod429 (53,480 points)

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