Champing or chomping at the bit?

 Champing at the bit or chomping at the bit?  This is one of those phrases that have been distorted over the years.  I have been using the wrong one (as I did with anxious vs. eager) for most of my life.

The proper way to say it is champing at the bit.

To champ is to do a repetitious, powerful opening and closing of the mouth that produces sounds when the teeth hit together.  Also means to show impatience at being held back or delayed.
For the non-horse oriented crowd a bit is a metal piece that is placed in the horse’s mouth and attached to the reins. It helps to control the horse when it is being ridden.

Champ turned into chomp like stamp become stomp, if you know what I mean.

As time goes on chomping at the bit is becoming more widely accepted.

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2 responses to “Champing or chomping at the bit?

  1. Thanks for this…I was writing an email and was pretty sure it was champing, and google brought me to this page. I like to get things like this right, even though no one that I ever email would know if I got it wrong or would care one way or the other.

  2. Barretth Glad I could help.