Posted by Bob on May 26, 2000
In Reply to: Champing/chomping at the bit posted by Bob on May 26, 2000
: : : A co-worker and myself were discussing the phrase "chomping at the bit"
: : : He insists that the phrase is actually "champing at the bit" but has been changed
: : : over time.
: : : Can you please settle this debate ... If you could provide the origin and meaning behing
: : : the saying that would be great!!!
: : : Thanks
: : I haven't found it yet. But it has got to be "chomping at the bit" as in a horse chomping or biting at its bit, ready to be on its way.
: In the 14th century it was "champing." The pronounciation has changed to chomping, but the sense is the same. I tend to use "champing" but I'm a 14th century kind of guy, so I think you could use either without raising eyebrows.
You asked about origins. The dictionary reports that it's "probably imitative." Seems reasonable. If you say champ champ champ champ champ champ rapidly, it sounds horse-like.