Biting Remark to Blackfoot

Biting Remark (A ). A remark more biting than Zeno's. Nearchos ordered Zeno the philosopher to be pounded to death in a mortar. When he had been pounded some time, he told Nearchos he had an important secret to communicate to him; but, when the tyrant bent over the mortar to hear what Zeno had to say, the dying man bit off his ear.

“That would have been a biting jest.”
Shakespeare: Richard III., act ii. 4.

Bitt To bitt the cable is to fasten it round the “bitt” or frame made for the purpose, and placed in the fore part of the vessel.

Bitten Imposed upon, let in, made to suffer loss. “I was terribly bitten in that affair.” I suffered great loss. To bite is to cheat or suffer retaliation. Thus, Pope says, “The rogue was bit,” he intended to cheat, but was himself taken in. “The biter bit” is the moral of Æsop's fable called The Viper and the File; and Goldsmith's mad dog, which, “for some private ends, went mad and bit a man,” but the biter was bit, for “The man recovered of the bite, the dog it was that died.”

Bitter End (The ). A outrance; with relentless hostility; also applied to affliction, as, “she bore it to the bitter end,” meaning to the last stroke of adverse fortune. “All Thy waves have gone over me, but I have borne up under them to the bitter end.” Here “bitter end” means the end of the rope. The “bitter-end” is a sea term meaning “that part of the cable which is “abaft the bitts.” When there is no windlass the cables are fastened to bitts, that is, pieces of timber so called; and when a rope is payed out to the bitter- end, or to these pieces of timber, all of it is let out, and no more remains. However, we read in Prov. v. 4, “Her end is bitter as wormwood,” which, after all, may be the origin of the phrase.

Bitter as Gall as soot, as wormwood. Absinthe is made of wormwood. (See Similes. )

Bittock A little bit; -ock as a diminutive is preserved in bull-ock, hill-ock, butt-ock, etc. “A mile and a bittock” is a mile and a little bit. (Sir Walter Scott: Guy Mannering, i.)

Biz in theatrical slang, means “business.” Good biz means full houses; but an actor's “biz” is quite another thing, meaning by-play. Thus, Hamlet trifling with Ophelia's fan, Lord Dundreary's hop, and so on, are the special “business” of the actor of the part. As a rule, the “business” is invented by the actor who creates the part, and is handed down by tradition.

Black for mourning was a Roman custom (Juvenal, x. 245) borrowed from the Egyptians.
   Black, in blazonry, means constancy, wisdom, and prudence.
   Black, in several of the Oriental nations, is a badge of servitude, slavery, and low birth. Our word blackguard seems to point to this meaning. The Latin niger meant bad, unpropitious. (See Blackguard.)

Black (See under Colours for its symbolisms, etc.).

Black as a Crow (or as a raven ); “as a raven's wing;” as ink; as hell, i.e. hades (2 syl.), meaning death or the grave; as your hat, etc. (See Similes. )

Black as a Newgate Knocker A Newgate knocker is the fringe or lock of hair which costermongers and thieves twist back towards the ear.

Black in the Face Extremely angry. The face discoloured with passion or distress.

“Mr. Winkle pulled ... till he was black in the face.”- Dickens: Pickwick Papers.

“He swore himself black in the face.”- Peter Pindar Wolcott .

Black is White (See Swear. )
   Beaten black and blue. So that the skin is black and blue with the marks of the beating.
   I must have it in black and white, i.e. in plain writing; the paper being white and the ink black.
   To say black's his eye, i.e. to vituperate, to blame. The expression, Black's the white of his eye,

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.