Middle English Dictionary Entry

bīten v.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Of a weapon: to pierce, penetrate, cut, slash; make a dent, dent; also fig.; ~ upon bord, nailed to the cross, transfixed [quot.: 1390]; -- (a) without or (b) with obj.
(a) Of a blow: to hit or land; of a ship: to land; (b) of vengeance, an enemy, etc: to strike; (c) to befall.
(a) To bite or sting (sb.); injure by biting, jabbing, or stinging; lacerate; (b) ~ wounde, to inflict a wound by biting; ~ dethes bite, inflict a deadly bite; (c) fig. to hurt or harm (sb.).
(a) To gnaw or bite; (b) to seize or hold (with teeth or mouth); (c) to bite into (sth., as from anger, grief, vexation); biten lippes, bite (one's) lips.
To cut (sth.) with the teeth, bite; biten awei, ~ of, bite off; ~ in (on) twinne, ~ in (on) sonder, bite in two; fig.?cut short (a note).
(a) To take a bite (of food); partake of food, eat; of animals: feed (on herbs); -- often with of or on phrase; (b) to eat (sth.); eat up, devour; ~ bite, take a bite, eat; also fig.; (c) to drink (sth.), take (a drink).
(a) To sting, irritate, smart; (b) to corrode, be corrosive; (c) of cold weather: to strike.
To stimulate, arouse; excite, irritate.
(a) Of pain, grief, remorse, etc.: to smart, hurt, vex; (b) of love or desire: to make ardent, to burn.
Sayings: biten the gres, bite the dust, die; ~ the bridel, champ the bit, be restive.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1225 Wor.Bod.Gloss.(Hat 115:Pope)656/331 : Toslitenan: ibitene.
  • Note: Ppl. as adj. for sense 2.(a)--per MP
  • a1500 MSerm.Mol.(Adv 19.3.1)83 : The chylde was sent to Syble the Sage, prayng that Sibell the Sage schuld gyve to it the same blessyng that God gave hur, becase sche bote hym be the hele.
  • Note: New spelling if this word
    Note: Perh. punning allusion to boten v.(1)--per MM

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?c1400(1379) *Treat.Uroscopy (Roy 17.D.1)f.24rb (2.2) : Congelacioun of blode is when þe blode is congelede, i. when þe blode is colde-byten, i. taken wiþ colde; and be cause þerof leseth his kynde colour and waxeþ wan.
  • ?c1400(1379) *Treat.Uroscopy (Roy 17.D.1)f.38va (2.3) : Þan 'epar' is distempred & biten wiþ frigidite, þe blod is noʒt depurede ne defiede ne haþ noʒt his kynde norisshing as it schulde haue.
  • ?c1400(1379) *Treat.Uroscopy (Roy 17.D.1)f.38va (2.3) : If þe vryn apere bloisshe wiþ a maner of whitishede, it seiþ þat þe lyuer is colde-byten, and by cause þerof þe lyuer is febil & vnmyʒty.
Note: New sense = ppl. 'as if injured by biting'. Poss. new phrase: cold-biten. Editor's gloss: colde-byten, ppl. adj. 'stung with cold'.