ankle biter

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Australian slang a child
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


What is an ankle biter?

Ankle biter is an Australian slang term for a young child.

The term ankle biter is often used to imply that a young child is annoying or a pest, as in One of my neighbor’s kids broke my window, so I had to yell at the ankle biter to stay out of my yard. It is frequently used by people who seriously or jokingly don’t like young children.

In the United States, ankle biter is also used to refer to small dogs, especially aggressive ones, as in My sister’s Chichuahua is cute but such an ankle biter!

Ankle biter is sometimes spelled ankle-biter.

Example: I babysit my niece all of the time, and I’m really starting to like the little ankle biter.

Where does ankle biter come from?

The first records of the term ankle biter comes from around 1850. Although it is Australian slang, its exact origin is unknown. The first records of ankle biter to mean a small dog are more recent, coming from around 1967.

Ankle biter is a combination of the words ankle, the name of the joint between the foot and the leg, and biter, meaning “something that bites.” Ankle biter is an indirect reference to a small size, exaggeratingly suggesting that something is so small that it only reaches up to your ankle. The term also indirectly refers to annoyance or irritation by comparing something to a bug or similar pest that would repeatedly bite your ankles.

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What are some other forms related to ankle biter?

  • ankle-biter (alternative spelling)

What are some synonyms for ankle biter?

What are some words that share a root or word element with ankle biter?

What are some words that often get used in discussing ankle biter?

How is ankle biter used in real life?

Ankle-biter is used to express irritation with children or small dogs, both seriously and jokingly.

Try using ankle biter!

True or False?

Ankle biter is a slang term for “teenager.”

How to use ankle biter in a sentence