Champing/chomping at the bit
Posted: 14 October 2017 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have heard both used and today I heard “champing at the bit” used on a news show, so I decided to see which one is used most. The following link and text I found interesting:

http://grammarist.com/usage/champing-chomping-at-the-bit/

One definition of bit is a metal mouthpiece used for controlling a horse, and one definition of champ is to bite or chew noisily. These are the senses meant in the idiom champing at the bit, which refers to the tendency of some horses to chew on the bit when impatient or eager. In its figurative sense, it means to show impatience while delayed, or just to be eager to start.

The idiom is usually written chomping at the bit, and some people consider this spelling wrong. But chomp can also mean to bite or chew noisily (though chomped things are often eaten, while champed things are not), so chomp at the bit means roughly the same as champ at the bit.

In fact, chomp, which began as a variant of champ, is alive in English while the biting-related sense of champ is dead outside this idiom, so it’s no wonder that chomping at the bit is about 20 times as common as champing at the bit on the web. Champing at the bit can sound funny to people who aren’t familiar with the idiom or the obsolete sense of champ, while most English speakers can infer the meaning of chomping at the bit.

Still, if you’re writing for school or for readers who are versed in English, champing at the bit is probably the safer choice.

Examples

Both forms are easy to find in edited publications and blogs from throughout the English-speaking world—for example:

As for drama (or tragicomedy, to be more precise) I am champing at the bit for “Waiting for Godot.” [Los Angeles Times]

He was chomping at the bit to get on with implementing his magnificent suite of policies. [Herald Sun]

Another driver who’s champing at the bit to get into action is former V8 champion Booth. [New Zealand Herald]

So I’m not chomping at the bit to double it in a week and a half, when the duo co-host the Oscars. [Guardian]

By nature, young drivers can often be champing at the bit for their turn in these events. [Globe and Mail]

In any case, the photographs … are more than enough to have me chomping at the bit for the February 17th release. [Irish Times]

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Posted: 14 October 2017 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Here is another opinion:

https://www.bathroomreader.com/2014/04/chomping-vs-champing/

It’s champing at the bit, not chomping at the bit.

chomping vs. champingThis phrase (or idiom) comes from the sport of kings: horse racing. A bit is part of the apparatus that goes in the horse’s mouth and connects to the bridle and reins so the horse can be controlled and directed by the jockey on its back. The bit fits into a toothless ridge of the horse’s mouth, so the horse never really bites the bit. But it can grind his teeth or jaw against the bit, and if it does, it means that the horse is either nervous, or really excited about racing. That’s how the phrase “champing at the bit” entered everyday communications: to indicate extreme eagerness.

But “chomping” has come to replace “champing” in this phrase. It makes sense, to a degree, because “chomping” is a far more common word than “champing,” and would seem to relate back to the phrase’s origin, because horses’ mouths have teeth, and teeth “chomp.” However, champing is a similar word with a similar meaning to chomp—it means “to grind teeth.” The original phrase works.

In the end, it’s just wrong to say “chomping,” because “chomping” is a transitive verb, or a verb that needs an object for it to make sense. In other words, you have to have something to chomp on if you want to use “chomp.” A horse doesn’t chomp, or bite, the bit—he champs, or grinds, his teeth. No bit is necessary for a champing to happen, so champing is an intransitive verb, which means no “object” is required.

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Posted: 14 October 2017 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The OED:

Definitions for champ, v.:

1. trans. To crush and chew by vigorous and noisy action of the jaws; to munch. Also with up. [1530]
2. trans. To bite upon (anything hard); said especially of a horse which impatiently bites the bit in its mouth. [1577]
3. intr. or absol. To make a biting and chewing action or movement with the jaws and teeth. [1558]
†4. trans. To gnash (the teeth), close (the jaws) with violence and noise. Obs. [1775]
5. To make (bullets) jagged by biting. [1645]
6. Sc. To crash, mash, pound with a pestle or the like (potatoes, sand, etc.); to crush or trample under foot, as men or beasts do. [1788]
Draft Additions June 2007
intr. fig. to champ at the bit: to be restlessly impatient or eager to do something, esp. in the face of a constraint or delay. Chiefly in pres. pple. Cf. sense 3. [1885]

Definitions for chomp, v.

Formerly only dial. and U.S.
Now a widespread variant of champ v.  (esp. in senses 1, 2 and 3). [1645]
Draft Additions June 2007
intr. fig. Chiefly N. Amer. to chomp at the bit: = to champ at the bit at champ v. Additions. [1937]

There is no difference in meaning between champ and chomp. They both refer to a biting or gnashing motion with the teeth. Both have transitive and intransitive uses.

In the catchphrase, champ at the bit is older, but not all that much older than chomp at the bit. Both variants of the phrase are in common use, at least in North America.

Neither is more correct than the other. Which one you pick is a matter of personal preference.

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Posted: 14 October 2017 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I thought that second definition was not true. Thanks for the confirmation. Maybe an impossible question to answer, but how often do two different spellings like this survive time like these have?

[ Edited: 14 October 2017 07:04 PM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 15 October 2017 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Maybe an impossible question to answer, but how often do two different spellings like this survive time like these have?

I would say, very often. Right off the top of my head I offer you smash and smush, mash and mush, ass and arse, and I’m sure I could think of dozens more given time.

Bathroom Reader’s assertion that the phrase champing at the bit “comes from the sport of kings, horse racing” is just silly. Any horse that comes out of its stable full of beans (literally or figuratively) is liable to champ at the bit, and I can tell you there’s no action more unnerving to an unconfident rider. It conveys that the animal is far keener to break into a headlong gallop and/or jump a terrifyingly high obstacle than you are - and that if in all that champing it manages to get the bit between its teeth (a position in which hauling on the reins is quite ineffectual) it will go right ahead and do that, whether you want it to or not.

An extended sense of champ is ‘to mash, as by chewing’, which has given us the Northern Irish noun champ, which means ‘potatoes mashed with milk, butter, and plenty of chopped spring onions’. But my feeling is that in general use in Britain (leaving aside regional dialect, which I can’t answer for) the British form of the verb, champ, is losing ground to the US chomp. However, I don’t think I have ever heard or read chomping at the bit over here.

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Posted: 15 October 2017 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Catsup and ketchup have coexisted for almost 300 years.  And the various forms of aerie have yet to produce a clear winner.

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Posted: 16 October 2017 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And then there’s klint/clint/glint (the Concise Oxford has it as clint)

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Posted: 16 October 2017 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dr. Techie - 15 October 2017 11:42 AM

Catsup and ketchup have coexisted for almost 300 years…

Speaking of which, I can remember, as a child, being confused at the store to see the Heinz Ketchup stacked next to the Hunts Catsup.  “What’s the difference?” I asked my mother.  “It’s the same thing,” she replied—though I noticed that she always bought the Heinz.  At some point Hunts changed theirs to “ketchup” as well.  Does anyone still use “catsup” these days? :-)

-- edit typo

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Posted: 17 October 2017 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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----- “Does anyone still use “catsup” these days?”

We just discovered HP Sauce, never again catsup or whatever those others re called.

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Posted: 24 October 2017 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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droogie - 17 October 2017 10:04 AM

----- “Does anyone still use “catsup” these days?”


We just discovered HP Sauce, never again catsup or whatever those others re called.

Daddies’ Sauce is the superior brown sauce to HP: sharper and less fruity.

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Posted: 26 October 2017 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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zythophile - 24 October 2017 02:58 PM

droogie - 17 October 2017 10:04 AM
----- “Does anyone still use “catsup” these days?”


We just discovered HP Sauce, never again catsup or whatever those others re called.

Daddies’ Sauce is the superior brown sauce to HP: sharper and less fruity.

Now I’m curious!  I need to see if I can get these on Amazon and give them a try. :-)

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