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bite your tongue | hold your tongue

Meaning: If you bite your tongue, or hold your tongue, you force yourself not to say something you really want to to say.

For example:

  • I wanted to tell Carlos he was being stupid, but I bit my tongue and just sat there.

  • You're going to have to learn to hold your tongue instead of saying whatever comes into your head.

Note: These two idioms have the same meaning, though "hold your tongue" is more old-fashioned than "bite your tongue".

Quick Quiz:

You really have to hold your tongue, or bite your tongue, when you're being spoken to by
  1. some friends at a party
  2. a waiter in a restaurant
  3. a judge in a courtroom

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