[Ads-l] be obliged to bite the Bitts

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue Aug 4 02:17:54 UTC 2015

>From an account of a rebellion in Dutchess County of some of the tenants on
the great manors there, specificall, the Livingston manor.

Since these authentick Accounts were received, we have been informed, That
many of the Rioters have been taken, and committed; and that however
daring, they may have attempted to fly on the Face of Authority, they will
be obliged to *bite* the *Bitts* at last: And Proclamations are issued to
apprehend the Whole, or Part [of] them.
            N-Y Gazette [Weyman's], July 7, 1766, p. 3, col. 1

This evidently refers to a horse's bit, and means to submit.  I don't see
this expression in the OED.  "Taking the bit in its teeth", it seems,
signifies just the opposite, that a horse is refusing to submit.


George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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