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Bite the bullet

To bite the bullet means to face a hardship straight on, to bear something either physically or psychologically painful with bravery. Related phrase are bites the bullet, bit the bullet, biting the bullet. Biting the bullet is a cliché of the American Old West, cowboys are often depicted as biting the bullet when undergoing medical procedures without anesthetic. Bullets are made of lead, a soft metal, and biting a bullet was a distraction designed to stop a patient from crying out. The term bite the bullet is older than the 1800s, however, and may actually refer to how early guns worked. Gunpowder and a ball were previously loaded into paper cartridges. In the heat of battle, the soldier would rip open the tip of the paper cartridge with his teeth and pour the gunpowder and ball into his gun. Biting these cartridges and calmly loading a gun in the face of the enemy certainly meant facing a difficult situation with bravery, as in the idiom bite the bullet.


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Examples

CAN NAJIB & ROSMAH BITE THE BULLET: DAYS OF WINE & ROSES ARE OVER, AUSTERITY AHEAD (The Malaysia Chronicle)

Australian politicians must bite the bullet on urgently-needed tax reform (The Herald-Sun)

Republican legislators decided to bite the bullet after scrubbing the budget and cutting everywhere they could. (The Bossier Press-Tribune)

Fianna Fáil, in particular, would have problems keeping everybody on board if Micheál Martin opted to bite the bullet and accept it as the inevitable trajectory for his party. (The Irish Examiner)

“This is a time in our community to bite the bullet and take on this additional financial burden.” (The Toledo Blade)

“We bit the bullet and started selling soju with the idea that we would make money on high turnover at low margins, but hardly anyone is drinking soju either,” Kang added. (The Hankyoreh)

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