champ at the bit


Show impatience at being held back or delayed, as in The dismissal bell hadn't rung, but they were champing at the bit to leave. This term transfers the action of a horse that impatiently bites the bit in its mouth to human behavior. [Mid-1600s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.