bite off

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bite off (third-person singular simple present bites off, present participle biting off, simple past bit off, past participle bitten off)

  1. (transitive, idiomatic, sometimes followed by on) To accept or commit oneself to a task, project, notion, or responsibility, especially one which presents challenges.
    • 1967 July 28, "Actresses: Hayley at 21," Time:
      In between what she called the "goody-good" or "frilly-knickers" Hollywood films, she bit off some more demanding parts back home.
    • 1988 Dec. 29, Steve Lohr, "Risk Inherited at Finnish Concern," New York Times (retrieved 4 July 2011):
      "And for the next couple of years, with Nokia having bitten off so much, Vuorilehto is the right guy for the task they face."
    • 2006 Jan. 4, Natalie Pace, "Q&A: MySpace Founders Chris DeWolfe And Tom Anderson," Forbes (retrieved 4 July 2011):
      We have set a plan that we believe everyone at News Corp. will bite off on.
    • 2009 Oct. 28, "Healthcare reform: Trigger Unhappy," Newsweek (retrieved 4 July 2011):
      They think it's politically too much for the government to bite off right now.
  2. (transitive, idiomatic) To acquire, especially in an abrupt or forceful manner.
    • 1997, Anthony Spaeth, "And Here the Twain Shall Meet," Time, Special Issue—Hong Kong 1997:
      To thicken that buffer zone Britain joined other powers in biting off larger chunks of China.
    • 2007 March 26, Laurie J. Flynn, "Maker of Mobile Games Brings Line to BlackBerry," New York Times (retrieved 4 July 2011):
      For R.I.M. to bite off just a tiny piece of that market would help it grow considerably.


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