idiom: to bite one’s tongue


Yes, today we have yet another idiom related to our bodies. This one: to bite one’s tongue. It is used when someone wants to say something but knows it’s not a good idea, so they have to stop themselves from saying it. For example:

Jeff asked me what I thought of his new jacket. It’s really ugly, but I couldn’t say that to him, so I just bit my tongue and told him it was nice.

A: At the meeting, my boss took credit for my idea.

B: Really? That’s terrible. Did you say anything?

A: No, I just bit my tongue. I don’t want my boss to get angry at me.

We can also use this idiom in the imperative. This means that you use the verb as the first word of a sentence, without using the word “you”, in order to tell someone what to do. This is used when giving orders, instructions or directions. For example:

Come here please.

Turn left at the next corner.

Press the red button.

When we use “to bite one’s tongue” in the imperative, it means we are telling someone that their statement is unwelcome from our point of view. For example:

A: I heard it’s going to rain tomorrow.

B: Bite your tongue! I’m supposed to go on a picnic tomorrow.


A: I really don’t think the Allstars will win the championship.

B: Bite your tongue! They’re my favorite team! I really want them to win!

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