take the bit in one's mouth


Also, take the bit between one's teeth. Throw off restraints and proceed on a headlong course, take control. For example, My partner took the bit in his mouth and bid a grand slam, or Jane took the bit between her teeth and now there's no stopping her. This idiom alludes to the bit, the metal mouthpiece of a bridle whereby a rider controls a horse. [c. 1600]

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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.