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Chris -- 2015-05-30

#1 2006-02-20 15:55:26

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"chopping at the bit" for "chomping/champing at the bit"

Almost 1300 raw Google hits for “chopping at the bit.” The Eggcorns Database already has “chomping at the bit” for “champing at the bit,” but this variant seems to be unrecorded. I think that for some writers this reanalysis must be a more sweeping reinterpretation than “chomping”: a bit that can be “chopped at” probably isn’t the kind of bit that’s attached to a bridle; these authors appear to be envisioning someone obsessively chopping at an already-small bit of something. Interestingly, this variant is starting to show up in printed books; – which draws its database from printed (and presumably edited) books – has six hits, most of them from the last few years.

Incidentally, the Eggcorns Database considers “chomping at the bit” an “almost mainstream” eggcorn for “champing at the bit.” “Almost”? For the period 1980-2005, lists 1240 hits for “chomping at the bit” and 1020 for “champing at the bit.” At least for a lot of Americans my age or younger, the former version of the phrase is far and away the most familiar. “Chomping at the bit” may or may not be “standard,” but it’s unqualifiedly “mainstream,” and the Database’s “nearly mainstream” tag is decades out of date. Replacing that label with, say, “historical eggcorn” might be a good idea.

Examples of “chopping at the bit”:

You have the young, vibrant-they didn’t say this but-the Catholic connection of this candidate who was from the northeast with the civil rights connection mobilizing a young, eager constituency that was chopping at the bit to be in national politics.

Penguins uniformly littered the beach and the welcoming waft of sweet-smelling guano graced our nostrils. We were given the chance to take our first hike and I had been chopping at the bit to get out and explore some of the highlands. … ng_06.html

I’m chopping at the bit to head down to the nurseries but it’s still getting down to 34 on some nights so it will have to wait another week or two before I buy plants. … _2005.html

Is hardcopy expected to remain prevalent
> or are companies chopping at the bit for on-line help, multi-media, other? … 0187.html_

Was that reference to “chopping at the bit”
a simple typo, or has the phrase “champing at the bit” [or, perhaps,
“chomping at the bit”] simply become so removed from its origins that only
nitpickers like me notice when it’s mangled? Is it now in the same category
as “intensive purposes”? :-) … 00187.html

[From page 251 of the 2005 book The Lads: Erin’s Far-flung Exile by Lawrence R. Kelleher]
All were nervous, homesick and all were chopping at the bit, to see action.
22chopping+at+the+bit&dq=%22chopping+at+the+bit&pgis=1”> … bit&pgis=1

Last edited by patschwieterman (2006-02-20 15:58:04)



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