Meaning the Idiom ‘Bite Off more Than You can Chew’

To bite off more than you can chew is to take it on more responsibility than you deserve to handle; to try to do a project that is too large for you.

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This idiom is most regularly used together a straightforward warning versus taking on more than you can handle: “Don’t bite off much more than you deserve to chew!”

It can additionally be supplied in the past tense, as in “he little off an ext than he might chew.”

Examples the Use

“I understand you want to write a good thesis however don’t bite off more than you deserve to chew.”

“Nathan was currently working two jobs. Now he’s bring away a third. He’s absolutely bitten off much more than he deserve to chew.”



Although this idiom possibly has actually older beginnings relating come food, in America, the is stated to have obtained during the 1800’s in the American West, in regards to chewing tobacco, which came in solid ‘cakes.’ The expression referred to biting turn off a bigger piece of tobacco and you can chew, which could lead to swallowing. Swallowing tobacco can make you very ill, and also in some cases, have the right to be fatal.

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Since humans regularly take larger bites the food 보다 they have the right to comfortably right in their mouth and also chew well, which have the right to lead come choking, the idiom probably has actually a more general origin.

The more quickly printed offers in America appear to it is in from the 1870’s, such as in man Hanson Beadle’s Western Wilds (1878): “I was under as Manchester the day the hauled under the stars an’ stripes, an’ sez I, ‘Men, you’ve little bit off more’n you deserve to chaw;’ an’ they laughed at me.” in the News by Peter Bengelsdorf turns up an additional use indigenous the exact same year, in Ayer’s American Almanac (Lowell, Massachusetts): “It is a sign of a petty male to be constantly in a hurry.

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It reflects that he has “bit off more than he have the right to chew.”

Similar are uncovered in various other languages such as the Italian. Because that example, don’t bite off an ext than you can chew, in Italian, is expressed as Non fare il passo piu lungo della gamba or “Don’t take it a step longer than your leg.”