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bitch

[ bich ]
/ bɪtʃ /
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noun
verb (used without object)
Slang. to complain; gripe: They bitched about the service, then about the bill.
verb (used with object)
Slang. to spoil; bungle (sometimes followed by up): He bitched the interview completely.You really bitched up this paint job.
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Idioms about bitch

    sit / ride bitch, to sit uncomfortably between two others in the middle of the front or back seat of a car, particularly one with a raised section in the middle resulting in being forced to bring one's knees up in a bent position: When I was young, I was the smallest, so I was always stuck sitting bitch.Please don't make me ride bitch again!

Origin of bitch

First recorded before 1000; Middle English bicche, Old English bicce; cognate with Old Norse bikkja

historical usage of bitch

At its most literal, a bitch is a female dog. It is common to differentiate animals by gender, as with hens vs. roosters or cows vs. bulls. But words for female animals often develop derogatory meanings, and this happened to bitch around 1400 when it gained currency as a disparaging term for a woman. It first meant “a lewd or sensual woman,” and then evolved to mean “a malicious or unpleasant woman.” The word is first found used this way in the Chester Plays of the 1400's, which have the line “Who callest thou queine, skabde biche?,” translated by one writer into modern English as “Who are you calling a whore, you miserable bitch?” It became so offensive that by the 1800s people started using euphemisms for the literal sense, such as lady dog and she dog.
Now, however, the word has developed a number of informal usages that may be less offensive in some contexts. Used as a verb, it can mean complaining ( bitching and moaning ), or bungling things ( bitching something up ), or riding in an uncomfortable position in a car ( sitting bitch ). The word has also been reclaimed by some women as a term of empowerment, and can even be used in a friendly address ( You're doing amazing, bitch! ). But other uses still retain misogynistic or violent overtones ( prison bitch, make him your bitch ). For this reason, care must be taken to consider the context and topic when determining whether the word is appropriate.

popular references for bitch


The BITCH Manifesto: Classic feminist article (1970) written by Jo Freeman under the pen name Joreen. It reclaimed the word “bitch” as a term of empowerment rather than one of abuse.
Bitch: A feminist magazine commenting on popular culture and media, founded in 1996.
—Bitch: The stage name of a politically outspoken female rock vocalist/violinist and actress.
Skinny Bitch: A diet book (2005) written by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.
No One's the Bitch: A book (2009), website, and forum that supports mother and stepmother relationships. Started by Jennifer Newcomb Marine and Carol Marine.
—Stitch 'n Bitch: A network of groups of people who knit and crochet.

OTHER WORDS FROM bitch

su·per·bitch, noun

Quotations related to bitch

  • "The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse as they would have drowned a bitch's blind puppies. "
    -Falstaff Merry Wives of Windsor, act III, scene V (1602)
  • "We're all nervous as a wolf bitch in heat. "
    -Paul Engle The Last Whiskey Cup The Great American Parade (1935)
  • "Bitch: … the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore, as may be gathered from the regular Billingsgate or St. Giles's answers, ‘I may be a whore, but can't be a bitch.’ "
    -Francis Grose Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785)
  • "The bitch that I mean is not a dog. "
    -English proverbial saying Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British (1732)
  • "Kind of a Bitch: Why I Like Hillary Clinton "
    -Camille Paglia Vamps & Tramps: New Essays (1995)
  • "What a bitch of a thing prose is! It is never finished, there is always something to be done over. "
    -Gustave Flaubert, in a letter to Louise Colet The Selected Letters of Gustave Flaubert (1953)
  • "He's my bitch, and when he says my name, we just sell that many more records. "
    -David Lee Roth, talking about Sammy Hagar Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga (2007)
  • "I liked the idea of having me a kept senator. You might say he's my bitch. "
    -Stanford Diehl Angel in the Front Room, Devil Out Back (2001)
  • "Sometimes you just have to stop and bitch about the roses. "
    -Man to woman, in a cartoon by Christopher Weyant The New Yorker (December 20, 2004)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bitch in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bitch

bitch
/ (bɪtʃ) /

noun
verb informal

Word Origin for bitch

Old English bicce
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
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