(The Free Dictionary by Farlex)

 To accept something difficult and try to live with it. 


The theory goes that patients undergoing surgery would be given a stick of wood or a pad of leather to bite on in order to divert their attention away from the pain and also to protect against biting their own tongues.

An ingenious correspondent has suggested that, as wooden sticks are known as billets, the stick-biting practice might have first been called ‘biting the billet’ which then modified to ‘biting the bullet’.

Another theory goes that before the days of effective anesthetics, soldiers who fight in the America Civil war were given bullets to bite on to help them enduring pain.

This seems rather improbable, as effective anesthesia using ether and chloroform was introduced in 1846/47 and ether was issued to U.S. military surgeons as early as 1849 – well before the US Civil War began in 1861.

‘Biting the bullet’ does in fact date from before that war, as this definition of ‘nightingale’ in Francis Grose’s A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1796 makes clear:

15042013 - Chew A Bullet

The figurative usage of ‘bite the bullet’, just meaning ‘show courage; display a stiff upper lip’ is appropriately Victorian. The phrase was first recorded by Rudyard Kipling in his 1891 novel The Light that Failed:

15042013 - Bite On The Bullet

By 1926, the phrase had left the gory battlefields of the Boer War far behind and moved into the drawing rooms of the English upper classes, in the voice of Bertie Wooster, speaking to Jeeves in The Inimitable Jeeves, 1923:

15042013 - Bite The Bullet

In philosophy, a more specific meaning of the phrase is to accept unpleasant consequences of one’s assumed beliefs.

Given a philosopher’s currently held beliefs that he or she is not prepared to give up, he or she may have to bite the bullet by accepting a particular claim offered as an extreme case or putative counterexample.

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There is no success without hardship. ~ Sophocles

Last but not least, would like to share another classic song with you lovely souls out there!

Do have a marvelous day ahead!

Till then,

Cheers & TTFN~

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