- a small metal projectile, part of a cartridge, for firing from small arms.
- a cartridge.
- a small ball.
- Printing. a heavy dot for marking paragraphs or otherwise calling attention to or itemizing particular sections of text, especially in display advertising.
- Cards. an ace.
- to move swiftly.
- bite the bullet, to force oneself to perform a painful, difficult task or to endure an unpleasant situation: We'll just have to bite the bullet and pay higher taxes.
Origin of bullet
- a small metallic missile enclosed in a cartridge, used as the projectile of a gun, rifle, etc
- the entire cartridge
- something resembling a bullet, esp in shape or effect
- stock exchange a fixed interest security with a single maturity date
- commerce a security that offers a fixed interest and matures on a fixed date
- the final repayment of a loan that repays the whole of the sum borrowed, as interim payments have been for interest only
- (as modifier)a bullet loan
- British slang dismissal, sometimes without notice (esp in the phrases get or give the bullet)
- printing See centred dot
- bite the bullet See bite (def. 14)
Word Origin for bullet
1550s, from Middle French boulette "cannonball, small ball," diminutive of boule "a ball" (13c.), from Latin bulla "round thing, knob" (see bull (n.2)). Earliest version of bite the bullet recorded 1891, probably with a sense of giving someone a soft lead bullet to clench in the teeth during a painful operation.
bite the bullet
To adjust to unpleasant circumstances: “The severe drought is forcing everybody to bite the bullet and use less water.” Before anesthesia, people undergoing surgery would bite on a bullet to help them withstand the pain.
bite the bullet
Behave bravely or stoically when facing pain or a difficult situation, as in If they want to cut the budget deficit, they are going to have to bite the bullet and find new sources of revenue. This phrase is of military origin, but the precise allusion is uncertain. Some say it referred to the treatment of a wounded soldier without anesthesia, so that he would be asked to bite on a lead bullet during treatment. Also, Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796) holds that grenadiers being disciplined with the cat-o'nine-tails would bite on a bullet to avoid crying out in pain.
see bite the bullet; sweat bullets.