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Re: Don't bite off more than you can chew

Posted by Joe on February 13, 2009 at 20:59

In Reply to: Re: Don't bite off more than you can chew posted by ESC on February 13, 2009 at 13:02:

: : I'm looking for the origin of the idion "Don't bite off more than you can chew". Can anyone help?

: One reference says: "...Its figurative meaning seems to have arisen in the United States in the latter part of the 19th century, with the first recorded use of the term appearing in 1878 in J.H. Beadle's 'Western Wilds': 'Men, you've bit off more'n you can chew.'" From "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985). Page 26.

ESC is correct but the exact use is: same book 1877

... the day they hauled down the stars an' stripes, an' sez I, ' Men, yon've bit
off more'n you can chaw ;' an' they laughed at me. ...