Bite back – English Phrasal Verb – Online English Lessons

1. To bite back is to retaliate: to do or say something unpleasant to someone because they have done or said something unpleasant to you.

Examples of use:

a) Her relatives were always criticizing her so one day she bit back and told them what she thought of them.

b) They are always arguing. He shouts at her and she can’t help biting back.

c) Don’t bite back when they tease you. Ignore them.

2. To bite back something, or bite something back, is to stop yourself from saying something that lets others know your true thoughts or feelings.

Examples of use:

a) She bit back her angry reply when her boss told she she had to work late again.

b) We had to bite back our real thoughts when they asked us what we thought of their matching bright orange and green striped jumpers.  

bite back
present simple
bite back and bites back
-ing form
biting back
past simple
bit back
past participle
bitten back

Image by Phil Whitehouse