Bite Someone's Head Off

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Also: Snap someone's head off

Meaning of Idiom 'To Bite Someone's Head Off'

To bite someone's head off means to reply or speak to someone in a very sharp and angry way; to scold harshly. 1,2,3


"I know you had a bad day but you don't have to bite my head off. All I said was hello!"

"I asked Sabrina when she wanted to leave in the morning and she bit my head off. I think she can get a ride from someone else!"


This idiom derived from a much older idiom, dating from the 1500's, bite someone's nose off. The present idiom has been used since the mid-1900s, and the variant snap someone's head off rarely used, since at least 1886. 2

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.

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