take the bull by the horns

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

take the bull by the horns

  1. (idiomatic) To deal with a matter in a direct manner, especially to confront a difficulty rather than avoid it.
    • 1828 May, Sir Walter Scott, The Journal of Sir Walter Scott:
      Wordsworth has a system which disposes him to take the bull by the horns and offend public taste.
    • 1912, Arthur Quiller-Couch, Hocken and Hunken, ch. 4:
      "Then why couldn' ye take the bull by the horns an' march in by the front door?"
    • 1920, P. G. Wodehouse, The Coming of Bill, ch. 4:
      [H]e was ready to take the bull by the horns and pay for his meal himself.
    • 1950 Dec. 4, "The Nation: Between Friends," Time:
      In Korea General MacArthur took the bull by the horns and threw seven divisions into an all-out drive to clear North Korea.
    • 2002 May 16, Selena Roberts, "Tennis: Healthy Morariu Expects to Return to Court," New York Times (retrieved 2 Aug 2011):
      "Should I tell her? Should I send someone else?" he said yesterday. "I took the bull by the horns. I gave her the diagnosis. It was the most difficult time of my life."

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