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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    take the bit between one's teeth

    Hello,

    Can I use the idiom "take the bit between one's teeth" in the following context?

    Actually, everything was fine until yesterday. We were on intimate terms. Whatever decision we were to make, we always reached a heartfelt consensus. Whatever happened happened last night. He was no longer as intimate as he used to be. He began making any decisions on his own. He didn't even listen to me once. Apparently he took the bit between his teeth (=became disobedient).

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    #2

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    No. "to take the bit between one's teeth" means to face up to a difficult task and just get on with it.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #3

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    If he did take the bit between the teeth in those circumstances, he probably broke the relationship off.

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    #4

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    Turkish, my native language, has exactly the same idiom, but we use it in a different sense from you're saying. The Turkish version is more to do with becoming disobedient or making independent decisions.

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    #5

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    I could just about make a case for it meaning to make an independent decision but definitely not for being disobedient.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #6

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    The bit is designed to control a horse, so it is not about disobedience to us.

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    #7

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    Quote Originally Posted by gamechanger View Post
    Turkish, my native language, has exactly the same idiom, but we use it in a different sense from you're saying. The Turkish version is more to do with becoming disobedient or making independent decisions.
    I wonder if the Turkish expression might not mean Take the bit out of one's mouth. In the English expression, "take" means accept, not ​remove.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. Newbie
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    #8

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I wonder if the Turkish expression might not mean Take the bit out of one's mouth. In the English expression, "take" means accept, not ​remove.
    Your post escaped my notice. No. That's not the case. I thought take meant place here.

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    #9

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    Quote Originally Posted by gamechanger View Post
    Actually, everything was fine until yesterday. We were on intimate terms. Whatever decision we were to make, we always reached a heartfelt consensus. Whatever happened happened last night. He was no longer as intimate as he used to be. He began making any decisions on his own. He didn't even listen to me once. Apparently he took the bit between his teeth (=became disobedient).
    The main meaning of the English idiom is, as Skrej said taking control of a situation. When the horse takes control away from the rider, this element of taking control is more important than that of any notion of disobedience. We extend that idea, again as Skrey said,to mean starting or getting on with a task, because we're taking control of the situation and starting, instead of doing nothing, and we're doing so in a decisive or controlling manner.

    The idiom is not really appropriate in your original situation:

    Quote Originally Posted by gamechanger View Post
    Actually, everything was fine until yesterday. We were on intimate terms. Whatever decision we were to make, we always reached a heartfelt consensus. Whatever happened happened last night. He was no longer as intimate as he used to be. He began making any decisions on his own. He didn't even listen to me once. Apparently he took the bit between his teeth (=became disobedient).
    'Making decisions on his own' when he had previously reached consensus decisions with the writer is not really a dramatic enough change of control. If 'he' had been completely under the control of the writer and then thrown off that control and forged ahead with his own plans, then we might say that he had the bit between his teeth.

    Typoman - writer of rongs

  10. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #10

    Re: take the bit between one's teeth

    Idioms often take on their own life- many idioms that are related to sailing, for instance, originally meant something very different - sail close to the wind is one example. So, no matter how illogical you find it, you simply have to accept that the idiom is used this way.

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